Hockney sells for $90 million setting living artist record

David Hockneys

NEW YORK-A painting by the British artist David Hockney fetched $90.3 million (U.S.) at Christie's auction house on Thursday night, easily breaking the record for a work by a living artist sold at auction.

A prolific artist who has continued to work well into old age, Hockney told Britain's Channel 4 television in an interview in 2015 that painting was "all I want to do now at my age".

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

The previous record was held by American artist Jeff Koons, whose massive, stainless steel piece Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for $58.4 million U.S. at a Christie's NY auction in November 2013.

The 1972 painting by Hockney, now 81, is "the holy grail of his paintings, from both the historical and the market perspectives", Alex Rotter, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's, said in September.

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He completed the painting after working as much as 18 hours a day for two weeks, with The Week reporting he finished it the night before he had to send it off to a NY exhibition. It has been long held by a private collector.

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), features a man in a peach blazer standing on a sunlit ledge and peering over the rim of a pool at a submerged swimmer.

The first man depicts Hockney's former lover and muse, Peter Schlesinger, who was one of his students at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The relationship ended in 1971.

Hockney began work on the painting when he was inspired by the random placement of two photos on his studio floor.

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