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David Hockney painting fetches record $ 90 million at NYC auction

17 November 2018

The Hockney painting is not the only one making news this week.

At 81-years-old, David Hockney has just become the highest-selling living artist, the BBC reports. He noted that it reflects both the European and the American perspectives of an artist who came to live in sunny California in the '60s, and saw himself as living on both continents. "That has forced collectors to expand their search for emerging names who might be undervalued". He was so confident the Hockney would sell for more that he opted to offer it without a reserve, a minimum price at which the work can be hammered down. In May, his 1990 landscape, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica, sold for $28.5 million.

Rotter, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's in NY, told Associated Press in September that this is "the holy grail" of Hockney's work... That is an unconventional approach because bidding technically can start at US$1.

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On Thursday, at least seven parties vied for the Hockney, with a starting bid of $18 million. The purchaser was a client of Marc Porter, chairman of Christie's Americas.

The buyer's premium took the final price to $90,312,500, the auction house announced.

Hockney's 1972 canvas depicts two men. One, fully clothed, stands at the edge of a swimming pool gazing down at another, who is submerged.

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He said: "It has all the elements that you would want in a Hockney painting".

Lewis has an estimated net worth of $5 billion and also owns pieces by Picasso, Degas, Klimt, and Freud.

He began a new work that cast his former lover and favourite muse, California artist Peter Schlesinger, as a young man looking down at a swimming figure. "Freud is a passion of his".

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It was standing room only in the packed sales room at Christie's in NY, where a smattering of applause broke out when the sale concluded, the painting hammering for $80 million. A similar auction a year ago brought in $785.9 million, including Leonardo Da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", which sold for $450 million.

David Hockney painting fetches record $ 90 million at NYC auction