A David Hockney painting shows a man in a pink jacket staring down at a swimmer in a pool, the scene set against a lush, green mountainous backdrop.
This is “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures),” a 1972 work, and one of the paintings for which Hockney has become best known.
The work was also just auctioned off for US$90.3 million, more than any painting has ever gone for when the artist was still living, CNN reported.
Coverage of auctions on Globalnews.ca:
The painting was an item that went up for bids at a Christie’s auction at a salesroom at Rockefeller Center in New York on Thursday, according to the Financial Times.
Bids went out for approximately 10 minutes before the winning price was settled upon.
Bidding started at $18 million and grew to $40 million within 40 seconds, the Times reported.
The ultimate buyer eventually beat the record that was set when a Christie’s auction sold Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog (Orange)” for $58.4 million in 2013.
Christie’s didn’t disclose the buyer’s identity, but CNN reported that it’s believed to be Joe Lewis, a British businessman who has a collection of postwar English art.
Hockney painted “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” in 1972, after he spotted two photos in his studio; one showed a figure swimming underwater, another a boy who was “gazing at something on the ground,” according to Christie’s.
He abandoned an early version of the painting and then started again, working from photos he staged at a villa near Saint-Tropez.
Hockney later went back to his studio in London and took further inspiration from photos that showed his ex-lover, Peter Schlesinger, wearing a pink jacket in Kensington Gardens.
The artist didn’t exactly make a windfall from the painting the first time it was sold, CNN reported.
He sold the work for $18,000, but it was sold for $50,000 within six months.
Hockney will see no further windfall from the painting despite its record-breaking sale.