Hockney portray smashes document worth for residing artist

Rosalie Gross
November 18, 2018

With Christie s commission, "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)", surpassed the auction house s pre-sale estimate of about $80 million, following a bidding war between two determined would-be buyers once the work hit $70 million.

A painting by English artist David Hockney sold for $90.3 million during an auction at Christie's in Manhattan on Thursday.

Jeff Koons previously held the record, whose Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for $58 million in 2013.

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

In a virtually unprecedented move for such a valuable painting, "Portrait of an Artist", which was on exhibition at Tate Britain, the Pompidou Centre and NY s Metropolitan Museum of Art over the past two years, was sold with no reserve, the minimum price at which the consignor agrees to sell a piece.

The painting depicts two men _ one swimming the breaststroke underwater, the other standing by the pool looking down. Hockney's painting has smashed the former record to smithereens, although the portrait was owned by billionaire Joe Lewis who has made a tidy profit from the ground-breaking sale. After a break, he resumed the piece the following year.

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A prolific artist who has continued to work well into old age, Hockney told Britain's Channel 4 television in an interview in 2015 that painting was "all I want to do now at my age".

"The California landscape, the lovely trees and flowers and the sky, and then what we know him most for, which is the pool". One, fully clothed, stands at the edge of a swimming pool gazing down at another, who's submerged.

Thursday night in NY, the 81-year-old placed a wager on the strength of the art market, and it paid off in a big way.

Hockney, aged 81, was born in Bradford, England and studied art in London.

But the artist was nearly denied his RCA diploma because he did not complete an essay, an act of rebellion as he felt he should be judged exclusively on his art. Hockney was working on the painting at the time their relationship was ending.

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