David Hockney painting fetches record $ 90 million at NYC auction

Ruben Ruiz
November 16, 2018

An iconic swimming pool picture painted by British legend David Hockney sold for $90.3 million in NY on Thursday, setting a new auction record for a living artist, Christie's said.

It was acquired after nine minutes of intense bidding during Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art auction in NY on Thursday evening.

Jeff Koons' sculpture "Balloon Dog", which sold for $58.4 million in 2013 held the previous record.

The packed sales room in NY broke into applause when the hammer fell, with the buyer's premium and commission taking the final price to $90.3m. With an exhibition at New York's André Emmerich Gallery due to open just four weeks later, the 24-year-old Englishman worked 18 hours a days for two weeks, finally finishing the night before the shippers came to transport the painting to the United States.

More is known about the creation of "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" than virtually any other single Hockney painting.

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

He said: 'It has all the elements that you would want in a Hockney painting. One, fully clothed, stands at the edge of a swimming pool gazing down at another, who is submerged.

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.

The standing figure is said to represent Hockney's former partner Peter Schlesinger, whom the artist met in 1966 while teaching art in California.

Other reports by GizPress

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