"Portrait of an Artist" was auctioned on Thursday in New York for about $ 90 million, as Christie's auction house announced.
The tender was quick: if the starting price was $ 18 million, the bids exceeded $ 50 million after only 30 seconds. After nine minutes and a two-price competition, the 1971 painting, featuring two men and a swimming pool, was sold for $ 80 million. Including the sale price, the price is 90.3 million dollars (just under 80 million euros).
Therefore, it was clear that the previous peak price of the work of a living artist. The record so far has held the sculpture "Dog Balloon (Orange)" by American artist Jeff Koons. It was auctioned off in 2013 at an auction in New York for $ 58.4 million.
The picture is one of Hockney's most famous works, the 81-year-old cultured. At 2.13 x 3.05 meters large painting stands a man elegantly dressed on the edge of a swimming pool watching a swimmer, in the background an idyllic mountain landscape.
The viewer is Hockney's former lover Peter Schlesinger, with whom Hockney was between 1966 and 1972. The swimmer could be Schlesinger's new lover, said Christie's expert Alex Rotter.
The painting captures two central elements in Hockney's art: double swimming pools and double portraits. Before the auction, said Anna Maria Celis, Christie's director, "We can seldom say, 'This is the opportunity to buy the best painting of an artist.' Here it is."