Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Hockney sells for $90 million setting living artist record

HONG KONG-ART-AUCTION-CHRISTIE'S David Hockney painting auctions for record $90M
Adrian Cunningham | 16 November, 2018, 12:27

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.

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

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), features a man in a peach blazer standing on a sunlit ledge and peering over the rim of a pool at a submerged swimmer.

Alex Rotter, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's in NY, told the Associated Press in September that it is "the holy grail" of Hockney's work.

Hockney's painting was sold at a Christie's auction in NY with the painting having increased in value from the modest $18,000 that Hackney's NY dealer fetched for it in 1972. He noted that writers have referred to the swimming pool as being sort of a self-portrait of Hockney, though he never confirmed that, just saying he was fascinated to paint moving water.

Hockney's sold his painting for $18,000 in 1972.

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The painting, whose buyer was not immediately revealed, had been long held by a private collector.

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

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

The relationship ended in 1971.

The $90m price tag was all the more astonishing given the roughly $20,000 that Hockney told CNN his dealer originally sold the painting for in 1972, subsequently believing it had been undervalued.