Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

David Hockney painting fetches record £70m at auction

David Hockney painting fetches record £70m at auction

Hockney's 1972 work Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) went under the hammer at Christie's in NY on Thursday.

David Hockney dethroned Jeff Koons as the most expensive living artist at auction when his painting, owned by billionaire Joe Lewis, fetched US$90.3 million (S$124 million) at Christie's.

The previous record by a living artist was held by Jeff Koons, whose "Balloon Dog" sculpture sold for $58.4 million at Christies in 2013.

Portrait of an Artist was sold to an unknown buyer and the identity of the seller is also unconfirmed.

The initial work was painted and painted over, with Hockney returning to the concept a year afterwards in 1972.

Earlier this year, another of the 81-year-old's paintings sold for $28.5m - a personal auction record for the artist.

In the picture, a smartly dressed man, standing on the edge of the pool, looks pensively at another figure swimming toward him in glistening waters, with an idyllic mountain view in the background.

The standing man is Peter Schlesinger, an artist and Hockney's ex-lover.

Christie's described it as "one of the great masterpieces of the modern era".

Hockney began work on the painting when he was inspired by the random placement of two photos on his studio floor.

"It has all the elements that you would want in a Hockney painting", Rotter said in an interview.

"We rarely can say, "This is the one opportunity to buy the best painting from the artist", Ana Maria Celis, vice president of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's had said before the sale.

'The California landscape, the handsome trees and flowers and the sky, and then what we know him most for, which is the pool'.

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