David Hockney overtakes Jeff Koons as most expensive living artist at auction

David Hockney overtakes Jeff Koons as most expensive living artist at auction

David Hockney overtakes Jeff Koons as most expensive living artist at auction

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 $90.3 million.

Jeff Koons previously held the record, whose Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for $58 million in 2013.

Portrait of an Artist was sold to an unknown buyer and the identity of the seller is also unconfirmed. "I always loved swimming pools, all the..."

The artwork depicts two men at a pool with lush mountains in the backdrop.

Hockney first worked on a similar painting in 1971 after being inspired by two pictures juxtaposed on his studio's floor.

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The painting was destroyed a few months later but the idea stuck with the Bradford-born artist, who revisited the concept a year later, when he travelled to Saint-Tropez in the south of France with a friend to stage photographs. The standing man is Peter Schlesinger, an artist and Hockney's ex-lover. After a break, he resumed the piece the following year.

Christie's had estimated the 1972 oil painting at $80 million and called the Hockney "one of the great masterpieces of the modern era".

Alex Rotter, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's in NY, said the painting reflects both the European and the USA perspectives of Hockney who went to live in California in the 1960s and saw himself as living on both continents.

'The California landscape, the handsome trees and flowers and the sky, and then what we know him most for, which is the pool'.

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