Thursday 13 December 2018

$90m Hockney painting sets new auction record

 

"Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)," by British artist David Hockney. Photo: AP

Dean Gray

A David Hockney painting has been sold for $90m (€79m), smashing the auction record for a living artist.

A David Hockney painting has been sold for $90m (€79m), smashing the auction record for a living artist.

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

It emphatically surpassed the previous record for a work by a living artist, which was held by American Jeff Koons and one of his 'Balloon Dog' sculptures which sold for $58.4m in 2013.

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

British artist Hockney (81) was inspired to paint the picture by two photographs he found on his studio floor, one of a swimmer in Hollywood in 1966 and another of a boy staring at an item on the ground.

The painting shows two men, one doing the breaststroke underwater while the other watches from the side of the pool.

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

Hockney had already begun the painting when they split up in 1971. After a break, he resumed the piece the following year.

The sale comes six months after his 'Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica' sold for $28.5m.

Other highlights at the auction included Francis Bacon's 'Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing', which sold for $21.7m, and Alexander Calder's '21 Feuilles Blanches', which more than doubled its high estimate, selling for just under $18m.

Irish Independent

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