David Hockney painting fetches record $90M at NYC auction

Images LTD a 1972 painting entitled

Images LTD a 1972 painting entitled"Portrait of an Artist, by British artist David Hockney is shown. The painting considered one of Hockney's premier works was sold at auc

Hockney broke the previous record for a living Creator Jeff Koons.

The US$90.3-million price tag is all the more astonishing given the roughly US$20,000 that Hockney told CNN his dealer originally sold the painting for in 1972.

The night before, a Sotheby's auction produced new highs for three African-American artists and a 42-year-old female painter.

It depicts a man in a pink jacket looking down at another figure swimming underwater in a swimming pool.

Other highlights at the auction included Francis Bacon's "Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing", which sold for $21.7m, and Alexander Calder's "21 Feuilles Blanches", which more than doubled its high estimate, selling for just under $18m.

"Absolutely!" Christie's Alex Rotter told AFP when asked if the picture was really worth $90 million.

The work went far towards boosting the success of Christie's post-war and contemporary art auction, which took in a total of $357.6 million, with 41 of the 48 lots on offer finding buyers.

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"We weren't the only ones going after this painting", he said.

The rocky landscape is in southern France, and the standing figure is said to represent Peter Schlesinger, whom the artist met in 1966, when the younger man was a student in one of Hockney's art classes at UCLA.

One of Hockney's most celebrated works, it has featured on the cover of a number of monographs about the artist and was part of an global retrospective that celebrated his 80th birthday in 2017.

In a virtually unprecedented move for such a valuable painting, "Portrait of an Artist", which was on exhibition at Tate Britain, the Pompidou Centre and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art over the past 2 years, was sold with no reserve, the minimum price at which the consignor agrees to sell a piece. According to media reports the owner of a Portrait of the artist was the British billionaire Joe Lewis.

The Hockney painting was created in 1972 and is one of the works that most distinguishes the Yorkshire artist's work. "It's only when I stop I feel my age", he added.

"In order for you, as an audience, to make it exciting..."

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