Breaking the auction record for a living artist, British-born David Hockney’s 1972 work ‘Portrait of an Artist’ has been sold for $90m (£70m). The painting has been sold to an unknown buyer.
With this auction, Hockney has upstaged artist Jeff Koons whose “Balloon Dog” sold for a record $58.4m in 2013.
David Hockney's 'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)' makes a splash and sets a new #WorldAuctionRecord for a living artist, receiving $90,312,500 at auction https://t.co/TiyinVRCAspic.twitter.com/1z7RRpEpPs
— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) November 16, 2018
‘Portrait of an Artist’ is a double portrait showing a young man standing on the pool’s edge, looking down at submerged swimmer. The swimmer is reportedly based on Hockney’s former lover, Californian artist Peter Schlesinger, with whom he had broken up a year prior.
Alex Rotter, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s, had earlier called the painting “one of the great masterpieces of the modern era.”
“David Hockney’s brilliance as an artist is on full display with this monumental canvas, which encapsulates the essence of the idealized poolside landscape, and the tremendous complexity that exists within human relationships,” Rotter had stated, adding: “With this painting, Hockney cemented his placement within the realm of history’s most venerated artists.”