David Hockney painting expected to break auction records

Lewis Collier
September 16, 2018

This undated photo provided by Christie's Images Ltd. 2018, shows a painting by David Hockney entitled "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)".

Influential English Painter, David Hockney's famous "pool paintings" is coming to auction at auction house Christie's and is expected to sell in the $80 million range.

"Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures)" will go under the hammer in November, expected to break the record held by American Jeff Koons's $58.4 million "Balloon Dog (Orange)", set in 2013, Christie's said.

Earlier this year, another of the 81-year-old's paintings sold for $28.5m (£21.1m) - a personal auction record for the artist.

"With this painting, Hockney cemented his placement within the realm of history's most venerated artists, and come November, it is poised to become the most valuable work of art by a living artist ever sold at auction". "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". "The California landscape, the lovely trees and flowers and the sky, and then what we know him most for, which is the pool".

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Bloomberg's Katya Kazakina reported last month that the Portrait of an Artist is being sold by billionaire Joe Lewis, a currency trader who holds a collection boasting names like Picasso, Matisse, Bacon, and Freud.

The painting dates back to the year that Hockney and Schlesinger split, and the swimmer may have represented Schlesinger's new lover.

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 devoted to Hockey to celebrate his 80th birthday in 2017.

He added: "Wherever it ends up, I can tell you it will be surrounded by other top works of the 20th century".

"From the Tate (in London) to the Centre Pompidou (in Paris) to the Metropolitan Museum (in New York), this painting was always a stand-out, a painting that everybody gravitated to", said Rotter.

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