- David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sells for record price at auction
- David Hockney’s $90.3m painting reminds us what great art looks like
David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sells for record price at auction
Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) is a large acrylic-on-canvas pop art painting by British artist David Hockney, completed in May It measures 7 ft .2017
Lot 9 C. David Hockney b. Painted in Estimate on request. Stangos, ed.
One of the most iconic paintings of the 20th century shattered the world record for the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction. The work was previously owned by billionaire record exec David Geffen, who sold it to a private collector in Alex Rotter, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's, described Hockney's acrylic painting as "one of the great masterpieces of the modern era. Hockney, who is revered as one of Great Britain's most influential artists and a pioneer of the s pop art movement, conceived the composition for the double portrait by chance, after seeing the juxtaposition of two photographs on the floor of his studio in London -- one of a figure swimming underwater in a pool and the other of a boy staring at something on the ground. He began painting in October , but abandoned the first version of the canvas months later amid the end of his five-year relationship with Peter Schlesinger, a much younger American artist who was Hockney's original muse for the standing figure, according to Christie's. Hockney, 81, started over in early April , hoping to finish the piece for a planned exhibition in New York City the following month.
Armed with his Pentax camera, Hockney travelled to a villa outside Saint-Tropez, where he staged hundreds of photographs following his original composition using an assistant and friend in an idyllic pool setting. Returning to his London studio, Hockney composed the poolside photographs, along a selection of photographs of his former lover, Peter Schlesinger wearing the same pink jacket in Kensington Gardens, across his studio wall. Taking cues from the assemblage, he worked 18 hours a days for two weeks solid, finishing the painting the night before the shippers came to transport it to New York. Film still from A Bigger Splash, While on the final approach to Los Angeles, Hockney was struck by what he saw. Property from a Distinguished Private Collector.
Updated November 16, A David Hockney painting has broken the record for the most expensive work from a living artist sold at auction. 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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Hockney visited California for the first time in January after a successful first solo exhibition at the John Kasmin gallery. As a gay man, he was also a fan of the beefcake magazine Physique Pictorial , which was published in Los Angeles. This work brings together two of Hockney's themes from his paintings of the late s and early s: the swimming pool, and the double portrait. It depicts a male figure in white trunks swimming breaststroke underwater, and the painter Peter Schlesinger , Hockney's former lover and muse, fully clothed and standing at the edge of the pool looking down at the swimmer. The composition was inspired by a serendipitous combination of photographs that Hockney noticed on his studio floor: one of a man swimming underwater, taken in California in , and the other of a man standing looking at the ground. Juxtaposed, it appeared as if the standing person was looking at the swimmer.
David Hockney’s $90.3m painting reminds us what great art looks like
For Hockney at 81, this is a recognition of his place as one of the most remarkable artists of the past 60 years. Yet it comes with barbs.
One of the most iconic images in the artist's oeuvre, David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) is a story of two compositions.
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