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AKIPRESS.COM - A celebrated swimming pool painting by the British modern artist David Hockney sold for $90.3m in New York on Thursday, setting a new auction record for a living artist, the auctioneer Christie’s said, The Guardianreports.
Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) was snapped up after more than nine minutes of bidding, dominated by two rival telephone bidders. The previous record was held by American Jeff Koons and his Balloon Dog (Orange), which sold for $58.4m at Christie’s in 2013.
It was standing-room-only in the packed sales room at the Christie’s auction house in Manhattan, where a smattering of applause broke out when the sale of the Bradford-born, 81-year-old artist’s work concluded, the painting hammering for $80m.
The buyer’s premium took the final price to $90,312,500, the auction house announced.
Christie’s had estimated the 1972 oil painting at $80m and called the Hockney “one of the great masterpieces of the modern era”.
“We rarely can say, ‘This is the one opportunity to buy the best painting from the artist.’ This is it,” Ana Maria Celis, vice-president of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s, had said before the sale.
In the picture, a smartly dressed man, standing on the edge of the pool, looks pensively at another figure swimming toward him in glistening waters, with an idyllic mountain view in the background.