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London | 24 September – 22 October




Christie’s is delighted to present The Leaping Light: a private selling exhibition of 20th century British art. Taking its title from W. H. Auden’s 1935 poem ‘On This Island’, it brings together the work of Frank Auerbach, Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Bridget Riley.

The exhibition places particular emphasis on how these artists explored light. Many were informed by the distinctive luminosity they observed in various corners of England: from Cornwall – a touchstone for Hepworth, Nicholson and Riley – to Yorkshire, where Hockney found new inspiration after years on the sunlit Californian coastline. Moore, raised in the same county, placed his sculptural figures in direct dialogue with the landscape, allowing natural daylight to funnel through their forms. In London, meanwhile, Auerbach applied the lessons of the Old Masters to exquisite chiaroscuro depictions of his friends and neighbourhood.

Together, these artists had a transformative impact on the British art scene and beyond. Through the study of light, each sought to better understand the mechanics of human vision, asking vital questions about how we see the world. ‘“Let there be light!”’, said Hockney – ‘isn’t that the start of it all?’

Explore the exhibition at our King Street galleries from 24 September – 22 October, and delve further into its themes below.

Visit our virtual view





360 view | The Leaping Light

explore our private-selling exhibition of 20th century british art, featuring frank auerbach, barbara hepworth, david hockney, henry moore, ben nicholson and bridget riley.


Private sales viewing rooms


Virtually preview a selection of works available for immediate purchase


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This October, Christie’s London and Christie’s Paris join forces to present 20th Century: London to Paris新皇冠体育APP下载, a new sale series celebrating the best in Impressionist, Modern, Post-war and contemporary art and Design. Coinciding with Frieze London and FIAC in Paris, our auctioneers will be taking bids in both salerooms live from 4pm onwards on 22 October – uniting these two great centres of art during one of the biggest weeks in the art world calendar. Explore the sales in person at our King Street and Avenue Matignon galleries from 6 October.