David Hockney fetches $90 million at auction, smashing record for living artist

A woman looks at David Hockney's

A woman looks at David Hockney's"Portrait of an Artist"More

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

New York, Nov 16 A masterful swimming pool painting by British legend David Hockney sold for United States dollars 90.3 million in New York on Thursday, smashing a new auction record for a living artist.

Koons, 63, held the title since 2013 when his orange balloon dog sold for US$58.4 million.

Both the buyer and seller of Portrait of an Artist remain unknown.

The 1972 work by the 81-year-old British artist, depicts a man in a pink jacket looking down on another figure swimming underwater in a pool, was reported to have been consigned by British billionaire currency trader Joe Lewis.

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. After a break, he resumed the piece the following year.

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There's a new record for a painting by a living artist.

But, while grappling with the breakdown of their relationship, Hockney realized after months of work that he wasn't happy with the composition - the angle of the pool was all wrong.

He spoiled his paper with a sketch of a diploma in protest.

His career took off after he moved to Los Angeles in the 60s.

Many of his most beloved works were included in his first retrospective in 29 years at the Tate Britain in 2017, which became the gallery's most popular exhibition, pulling in nearly half a million visitors. The idea for the painting struck Hockney after two other paintings in his studio in Powis Terrace, Notting Hill, became juxtaposed in his mind.

"I'm a big fan of his", he added.

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