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David Hockney: "Lithograph of Water Made of Thick and Thin Lines and Two Light Blue Washes" (1978-80)
David Hockney: "Lithograph of Water Made of Thick and Thin Lines and Two Light Blue Washes" (1978-80)

Press release -

Lithograph May Become the Most Expensive David Hockney Work Ever Sold in Denmark

David Hockney is undoubtedly one of the most important artists of the 20th century. At a Live Auction on 16 June, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers will place one of the popular artist's works under the hammer.

The work, a lithograph from 1978-80, has been valued at DKK 300,000-500,000 (EUR 40,000-67,000) and therefore stands a chance of becoming the most expensive work by Hockney ever sold at auction in Denmark. The motif is one of the distinctive depictions of a swimming pool that have helped make the British artist world famous.

"It's very rare that we see lithographs in this price range – we're talking about a level that is at par with Andy Warhol's serigraphs", says Kathrine Eriksen, specialist in modern art at Bruun Rasmussen.

The Fascination of Water

Hockney's oeuvre ranges wide, from set designs to opera scenes over photo collages to English landscapes. However, he is probably best known for his alluring studies of water and swimming pools.

The interest in swimming pools came about in the early 1960s when Hockney first visited California. They can be seen as both an expression of freedom and 'the good life', but also as a desire to capture the essence and nature of the water in a sensuous way. He worked intensively with the subject through a variety of media, which is why it is a very central element in his art – something that of course also affects the price of the work up for auction,” says Kathrine Eriksen.

In 1978, David Hockney himself commented on his fascination with water:

Water in swimming pools changes its look more than in any other form… its colour can be man-made and its dancing rhythms reflect not only the sky but, because of its transparency, the depth of the water as well. If the water surface is almost still and there is a strong sun, then dancing lines with the colours of the spectrum appear everywhere.”

Staggering, Record-Breaking Hammer Prices

David Hockney has gained a great deal of international recognition, and his works have been exhibited worldwide in places such as London, Paris, New York, Melbourne and Tokyo. The works are also incredibly popular on the auction market, and the high demand culminated in a staggering price of USD 90 million for the work "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" in 2018 – a hammer price that made the painting the most expensive work of art by a living artist sold at auction. Hockney held the record until May 2019, when Jeff Koons' “Rabbit” was sold for USD 91.1 million.


Besides the lithograph, you can bid on two additional works by Hockney at the current auction at Bruun Rasmussen. These include an etching depicting Maurice Payne, one of Hockney's close friends, as well as one of Hockney's photo collages from the 1980s. With its organic, overlapping construction the collage gives the viewer several perspectives on the portrayed: Hockney's own mother.

Auction: 16-17 June at Bredgade 33, 1260 Copenhagen K and at 

The number of seats for the auction is limited and a reservation is therefore required. Book your seat via



Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.

In 2004, the first Online Auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, England, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are put up for auction each year at the Live Auctions, the daily online auctions and - the latest edition - Direct Auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.

Press contacts

Niels Raben

Niels Raben

Head of Department Modern & Contemporary Art + 45 8818 1181

Bruun Rasmussen – the Whole World's Auction House!

"Going once, going twice. Sold to the lady in the front row”. For 75 years, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers has sold art, antiques, design, jewellery, wristwatches and collector’s items in the heart of Copenhagen. It was Arne Bruun Rasmussen who founded the auction house at Bredgade 33 in 1948, and until 2022 the Bruun Rasmussen family owned the company. Today, the company is owned by the British auction house Bonhams - one of the world's leading and oldest auction houses.

Being a part of Bonhams, means that Bruun Rasmussen has joined a global network, which benefits both the art and the customers, the latter has gained access to far more auctions and the former has a better chance of achieving the market's best hammer prices. The goal is to constantly confirm to our customers that Bruun Rasmussen is a sought-after auction house with the highest expertise in valuation and sales. Bonhams and Bruun Rasmussen share the core values of knowledge, credibility, commitment and renewal, and the old Copenhagen auction house will thus continue to base its business on its well-known values under the auspices of Bonhams.

With CEO Jakob Dupont at the helm, an extensive digitization process has taken place during the past years, making the auction house a significant player on the international market. With solid experience and in-depth knowledge complemented by highly professional advice and appraisal service, the company is the link between sellers and interested buyers from all over the world. Every year, 70,000 unique works of art are sold at three types of auctions – the traditional Live Auctions and the two web-based auctions Online Auction and Direct Auction.

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