David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) - perhaps the most recognized piece in the English painter's swimming pool series - fetched $90 million U.S. at Christie's NY auction on Thursday, becoming the most expensive work sold by a living artist.
The previous record for a work by a living artist was set by American Jeff Koons for one of his Balloon Dog sculptures which sold for $58.4m (£45.6m) in 2013.More news: Busted! Russians Caught Trying to Cross Car-Only Bridge in Cardboard Bus
The 1972 painting by Hockney, now 81, is "the holy grail of his paintings, from both the historical and the market perspectives", Alex Rotter, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's, said in September.
With Christie's commission, "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)", surpassed the auction house's pre-sale estimate of about $80 million, according to Reuters. 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.More news: Best Photography Black Friday Deals 2018
The 1974 biopic "A Bigger Splash" documented its creation, and Hockney himself wrote about the painting in detail in 1988's "David Hockney by David Hockney: My Early Years".
"One was of a figure swimming underwater and therefore quite distorted ... the other was a boy gazing at something on the ground", Hockney said.More news: WinView Games Playbook: Packers vs. Seahawks - Week 11
Hockney had already begun the painting when they split up in 1971.
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