He may be acknowledged as one of the finest artists of the 21st Century, but even Bradford-born David Hockney cannot always live up to expectations.
One of his early works did not sell when it was put up for auction by Bonhams yesterday, failing to meet its reserve price.
The picture, Tyger, was described as “abstract and mysterious” by the auctioneers, who had expected it to reach a price somewhere between £40,000 and £60,000.
However, bidding stopped at £35,000 at the London saleroom and that was not enough to secure a sale.
The painting had been a gift to the owner from Hockney, so had not been sold previously.
It remains unknown whether the painting will be re-auctioned or will be returned to its owner at this stage.
Tyger was one of two Hockney artworks which had been up for auction at Bonhams, along with Room with a View, a boldly-coloured oil painting of Bridlington which had been expected to reach a price between £150,000 and £200,000.
However, that was withdrawn by its owner before the sale.
The developments may disappoint Hockney enthusiasts, because it means two new examples of his work have not emerged on to the open market.
Matthew Bradbury, Bonhams’ director of modern British and Irish art, had said the company had been “delighted to be offering two significant paintings by such an important British name”.
Bonhams had regarded the auction as “an exciting opportunity for collectors”.
The failure to sell may surprise observers in the art world because Hockney is increasingly recognised as a major figure in the modern art world.
Some of his recent paintings have introduced the joys of the East Yorkshire landscape to a whole new audience.
His recent printmaker exhibition at the Dulwich gallery in London received a positive reaction from the critics and he has also been involved in pioneering work using an iPad or iPhone as a medium for his drawing.