A single painting, English artist David Hockney’s ‘Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)’, recently sold for $90 million at an auction. This is a record for a single painting for any living artist.
A painting by the British artist David Hockney has fetched $90.3 million at Christie’s on Thursday night, easily breaking the record for a work by a living artist sold at auction. Among his famous “pool paintings,” ”Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” is considered one of his premier works. The previous record by a living artist was set by Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog,” which sold for $58.4 million in 2013.
“CBS This Morning Saturday” co-host Anthony Mason got a chance to look at the Hockney masterpiece up close before it hit the auction block at Christie’s.
In an interview at his Los Angeles studio two years ago, Hockney told Mason he doesn’t know why it’s been so popular over the years, and aptly pointed out, “If there were a formula for that, there’d be a lot more of them, wouldn’t there.”
Hockney said he was drawn to California by the sunshine, far from his hometown of Bradford, England, which he described as having a “gothic gloom.” California is where he found his sense of color and where he developed a fascination with pools.
“It’s always an interesting thing. How do you paint water? How do you paint something transparent?” Hockney said …
The New York Times reported that the price for the 1972 painting, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) “easily surpassed the high of $58.4 million, held by Jeff Koons for one of his Balloon Dog sculptures.”
Last December, a painting by Leonardo da Vinci sold for $450.3 million …
Portrait of an Artist was sold to an unknown buyer and the identity of the seller is also unconfirmed.
Don McLean, who wrote the hit song “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” years ago had another song with a brilliant line that sums up the auction experience from the perspective of the seller:
The more you pay, the more it’s worth.