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Nov 15, 2018: Hockney painting set to smash auction record for living artist

UNITED STATES - A painting by British artist David Hockney is poised to become the most expensive work by a living artist ever to be sold at auction.

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) is expected to fetch US $80 million when it goes under the hammer at Christie’s in New York. The current record belongs to American Jeff Koons, whose stainless steel Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for US $58 million in 2013.

Alex Rotter, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s, called the 1972 painting “one of the great masterpieces of the modern era.”

Set against a gorgeous, green, hilly landscape, it shows a man swimming underwater in the pool watched by another man, Hockney’s ex-boyfriend, Californian artist Peter Schlesinger.

Now 81, Hockney is regarded as one of the world’s most popular artists. His last retrospective, hosted by Tate Modern, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pompidou Centre in 2017-18, drew well over a million visitors.

The most expensive Hockney auctioned to date is Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica, which sold at Sotheby’s New York earlier this year for US $28.5 million.

The painting will be exhibited in Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles before it is auctioned.

#22743 Published: 10/16/2018

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