One of British artist David Hockney’s most iconic works sold for $90.3 million at auction on Thursday night, Christie’s confirmed in a press release.
The 81-year-old’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” set the record for the highest auction sale for a living artist, according to Christie’s. Previously, the honor belonged to Jeff Koons, whose “Balloon Dog” sold for $58.4 million back in 2013.
Hockney painted the piece back in 1972, with his dealer selling it for only $18,000 at the time, CNN reported.
Recounting the sale in an interview with the outlet from his Hollywood Hills studio in 2017, Hockney said, “I thought it was a lot of money at the time, but within six months, it was sold again for $50,000.”
Opening up about the piece’s origins, Hockney told CNN he was inspired by “two photographs on my studio floor, one of [former boyfriend Peter Schlesinger] and another of a swimmer, and they were just lying there and I put them together.”
Hockney told CBS News two years ago he’s never understood the painting’s popularity, but noted to the outlet: “If there were a formula for that, there’d be a lot more of them, wouldn’t there.”
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Much of Hockney’s artwork has focused on pools, something he told CBS News he always found “interesting.”
“How do you paint water? How do you paint something transparent?” he said.
The painting was previously held by a private collector, according to CBS News. The identity of its new buyer has yet to be revealed.
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