David Hockney could smash his own record at auction with a painting from his Yorkshire Wolds series going under-the-hammer for the first time.
The artist, 79, created six paintings of Woldgate Woods in East Yorkshire, charting the changing seasons, in 2006.
The images, which led to a quiet corner of the county becoming known as ‘Hockney Country’, were at the centre of the artist’s blockbuster exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2012.
The image, comprised of six large canvases spanning a total three and a half metres in width, is expected to fetch up to 12 million dollars (£9.2 million) at Sotheby’s in New York next month.
Much of the Woldgate Woods series remains in Hockney’s own collection.
The painting to be auctioned next month, Woldgate Woods, 24, 25 & 26, 2006, comes from a private collector.
The Bradford-born artist painted the work on six canvases as a way of achieving the mammoth scale for the landscape, despite being limited by the size of the staircase at his Bridlington studio.
Hockney, who became famous for his portraits and images of Los Angeles residents and their swimming pools, remains one of Britain’s most popular and influential artists.
His Yorkshire landscapes, displayed at the Royal Academy in 2012, showed a radical change in direction for the artist, who is also known for his drawings, print and photography.
Tate Britain is opening a retrospective on Hockney, in what is being billed as “his most comprehensive exhibition yet” next year.
Gregoire Billaut, head of the contemporary art department in New York, said: “David Hockney stands alongside Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud as one of the pillars of post-war British art.
“Ten years after we redefined the market for his work with The Splash, Sotheby’s is set to once again set a new record with Woldgate Woods, 24, 25 & 26, 2006.
“With the opening of the Tate retrospective early next year, along with collectors’ tremendous appetite for quality, now is the perfect time to present of the great accomplishments of the artist’s late career.”
He added: “We have been looking and looking for a Hockney for a long, long time but it is so rare for his work to come on the market. Hockney is a very quiet artist. He’s never been trying to push his market.”
Hockney’s previous record was for Beverly Hills Housewife, which sold at auction for 7.9 million dollars (£5.2 million) in Christie’s in New York in 2009.