David Hockney painting fetches record $ 90 million at NYC auction

David Hockney painting fetches record $ 90 million at NYC auction

David Hockney's "Portrait of an Artist [Pool with Two Figures]" fetched $90.3 million at Christies on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018.

A British currency trader turned billionaire just catapulted David Hockney to status as the world's most expensive living artist after selling one of Hockney's most famous works for a record $US90.3 million.

The previous record by a living artist was set by Jeff Koons' "Balloon Dog", which sold for $58.4 million in 2013. One is of a Hollywood swimmer in 1966 and another of a boy who is staring an item on the ground.

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The landscape in the background is supposed to be southern France, and the person standing is said to represent Peter Schlesinger, a student Hockney met in 1966 when he taught at UCLA.

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

One of Hockney's most celebrated works, it has featured on the cover of a number of monographs about the artist and was part of an worldwide retrospective that celebrated his 80th birthday in 2017.

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Do you have a favorite Hockney piece? One, fully clothed, stands at the edge of a swimming pool gazing down at another, who is submerged.

"The California landscape, the handsome trees and flowers and the sky, and then what we know him most for, which is the pool". Forbes estimates the 81-year-old's fortune at $5 billion (€4.4 billion).

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.

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The Hockney had been taken on tour to drive up potential buyer interest, in Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles. The idea for the painting struck Hockney after two other paintings in his studio in Powis Terrace, Notting Hill, became juxtaposed in his mind. "When I paint, I feel I'm 30".

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