David Hockney overtakes Jeff Koons as most expensive living artist at auction

David Hockneys

David Hockneys"Portrait of an Artist" during a press preview at Christie's New York Credit AFP

There's a new record for a painting by a living artist.

At 81-years-old, David Hockney has just become the highest-selling living artist, the BBC reports. Starting the piece in 1971, the pair had already started going their separate ways.

Hockney's 1972 work "Portrait of an Artist" (Pool with Two Figures), has been sold for $90 million (£70 million), at Christie's in NY on Thursday.

Mr Lewis, a currency trader who owns football team Tottenham Hotspur, declined to accept a guarantee despite offers of about US$80 million, according to people familiar with the matter. The painting broke its $80 million estimate at a Christie's auction on November 15.

Alex Rotter, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's in NY, said the painting reflects both the European and the United States perspectives of Hockney who went to live in California in the 1960s and saw himself as living on both continents. The purchaser was a client of Marc Porter, chairman of Christie's Americas. The final price of $90.3 million includes a $10.3 million buyer's premium.

The 1972 canvas depicts two men. The hilly landscape behind them was inspired by the South of France.

The 1974 biopic "A Bigger Splash" documented its creation, and Hockney himself wrote about the painting in detail in 1988's "David Hockney by David Hockney: My Early Years". The sale reached a total of $357.6 million (€315.4 million).

He began a new work that cast his former lover and favourite muse, California artist Peter Schlesinger, as a young man looking down at a swimming figure.

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