Hockney's pool painting sells for record $90M

Esequiel Farfan
Noviembre 16, 2018

A painting by David Hockney has sold for $90.3m (£70m) in NY, breaking the record for a work by a living artist sold at auction. With an exhibition at New York's André Emmerich Gallery due to open just four weeks later, the 24-year-old Englishman worked 18 hours a days for two weeks, finally finishing the night before the shippers came to transport the painting to the United States. It was offered by an anonymous seller and smashed a record set by a giant stainless steel Balloon Dog, one of the signature sculptures of the artist Jeff Koons, which was bought for $58.4 million. He noted that it reflects both the European and the American perspectives of an artist who came to live in sunny California in the '60s, and saw himself as living on both continents.

The single most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction was the eye-watering $450.3 million paid for Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" a year ago at Christie's in NY.

He said: "It has all the elements that you would want in a Hockney painting". One, fully clothed, stands at the edge of a swimming pool gazing down at another, who is submerged. It has been long held by a private collector.

"One was of a figure swimming underwater and therefore quite distorted ... the other was a boy gazing at something on the ground", Hockney said.

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The standing man is Peter Schlesinger, an artist and Hockney's ex-lover.

The relationship ended in 1971.

The painting was inspired by two photographs on the floor of Hockney's studio, one of the man standing and another of the swimmer.

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