Hockney Painting Sells for a Record $90m

There is nothing quite like attending a high stakes auction set to showcase exquisite pieces of outrageous value. You feel the tension in the air as the potential buyers continuously bid, pushing the price ever-higher in the hopes of becoming the proud owner of a rare or one-of-a-kind piece. This nervous energy is a feeling known all too well by Christie’s in New York City – one of the most prestigious auction houses in the world – who recently they broke the auction record for a piece by a living artist.

Breaking the Auction Record

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) by David Hockney sold for an incredible $90 million on Thursday, 15th November 2018 – an auction record for a work by a living artist. Before its sale, it had been exhibited in London, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong and had been forecast to fetch approximately $80 million. After the bidding surpassed the $70 million mark, the final price was decided upon after an intense 10-minute battle between two bidders via telephone.

Surpassing of Previous Auction Record

Once the successful bid was announced and the final hammer fell, the tightly packed sales room at Christie’s in New York broke out into elated applause. The buyer’s premium and commission applied after took the final price to an incredible $90.3 million, however the successful bidder chose to remain anonymous. The $90 million price point broke the previous record held by US artist Jeff Koons when his stainless steel Balloon Dog (Orange) sole for $58.4 million in 2013. Imagine how far you could get in online blackjack NZ with that kind of cash!

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) was painted in 1792 and is one of David Hockney’s most recognisable works. Beginning as two separate photographs on the Yorkshire artist’s studio floor, the painting was completed just in time for an exhibition in 1972 at New York’s André Emmerich Gallery and ahead of its sale was described as “one of the great masterpieces of the modern era” by Christie’s. Another of Hockney’s paintings sold for a personal auction record for the artist of $28.5 million earlier this year.

Analysis of the Art Piece

Upon moving to California from England in 1964, swimming pools became one of the artist’s main sources of inspiration. Speaking to CNN in 2017, Hockney stated “I always loved swimming pools, all the wiggly lines they make. If you photograph them, it freezes them whereas if you use paint, you can have wiggly lines that wiggle.” The double portrait depicts a young man standing on the edge of the pool, looking down upon a submerged swimmer. The submerged swimmer is based on Californian artist Peter Schlesinger – Hockney’s former lover – with whom he had broken up with a year prior.

One of World’s Most Popular Artists

David Hockey, now 81, is widely regarded as one of the world’s most popular artists and well over a million visitors attended his last retrospective hosted by Tate Modern, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Pompidou Centre in 2017 and 2018.

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