David Hockney is an 81-year-old British painter, who has lately become the most expensive artist among contemporaries.
His artwork Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) was bought at Christie’s by an anonymous buyer for $90.3 million.
The painting had been auctioned by a private collector who also preferred to remain unknown.
Christie’s immediately stated that this artwork was the greatest masterpiece of the era.
After the sale, someone in this auction house said that in a dozen years or so the price of the artwork would grow significantly.
The artist created this painting (214 by 305 cm) in 1972 with acrylic paints on canvas, and it became his most famous artwork. Mr. Hockney said that he had conceived its story when he had two photos on the floor of his studio in London, a man swimming underwater and a young man looking down at something.
In order to take a good picture of the swimmer, the artist took hundreds of photographs showing his friend and an assistant in a swimming pool in a villa near Saint-Tropez. The other photo was made by Hockney in Kensington Gardens in London. It shows Peter Schlesinger, the artist’s lover and muse, who appears in some of his paintings.
After his intention was born, the painter worked on the painting 18 hours a day for two weeks, and finished it the night before sending the artwork to the exhibition in New York.
The artwork was a resounding success there. It was sold for $ 18 000 and later resold several times, every time increasing in value.
It was another attempt to create the painting. Hockney had worked on the previous version of the artwork for six months in 1971, but then, disappointed in the result, he destroyed it.
The artwork was exhibited in the most prestigious galleries in New York, London and Paris. Its last owner was Joe Lewis, a billionaire from the Bahamas, whose collection includes artworks by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse.
David Hockney broke the sales record of the contemporary artist Jeff Koons, whose stainless steel sculpture Balloon Dog (Orange) was bought for $ 58.4 million in 2013. By the way, in May this year, Hockney’s Highway on the Pacific Coast and Santa Monica, painted in 1990, was sold at Sotheby's for $ 28.5 million.
David Hockney is a pop art artist. He was born in Yorkshire, England in 1938, but in the 1960s he moved to California and gave his heart to this sunny region forever. A survey of artists in the United Kingdom, showed that they consider Hockney the most influential British artist of all time.
He is a recipient of many orders and awards, and his artworks are exhibited in major museums of modern art. His artworks have always had scandalous hint. Although in the XXI century, it is no surprise, a few decades ago, depicting, for example, homosexual relationships was inappropriate. Nevertheless, one of Hockney’s early paintings Cleaning Teeth, Early Evening shows two anthropomorphic creatures in position 69.
However instead of their genitals the artist depicted Colgate toothpaste. The painting was created in 1962, five years before the decriminalization of same-sex relations in the UK. The images of consumer products, which are so characteristic of pop art, are depicted in a fancy manner in the painting. The artist included them into the subject of the artwork, and this is not like, for example, Andy Warhol's straight-line paintings with Coca-Cola cans.
Later, double portrait became a recurring format of Hockney’s artworks. My Parents, a double portrait, painted in 1977, became one of his most famous artworks in this genre. Another common subject of his artworks is a pool with clear water. In the Portrait of an Artist, these two creative lines were combined.
Experts think that the sharp rise in prices for David Hockney’s artworks on the art market was influenced by the retrospective exhibition that brought together 200 of his artworks from different time periods, and which was held in 2017 at the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. In the Tate Gallery, the exhibition was visited by 478 thousand people. So it was the most visited exhibition in the history of this gallery. The demand for Hockney's artworks among collectors soared and their number on the art market also increased.
In 2001 the artist became the author of a book about the art of the Renaissance Secret knowledge, which revealed the secret of the realism of that era’s paintings. The secret, in his opinion, is that Renaissance artists used mirror projections produced by means of the Camera Lucida and Camera Obscura.
Based on this book, BBC made a documentary in the early 2000s, in which Hockney reproduced elements of paintings of Jan van Eyck and Diego Velázquez.
He is also the creator of his own technique of making photo collages (similar to painting) from hundreds of small photographs taken from one place. Now he uses gadgets to create video installations.
Bright colors and energy of his artworks inspire not only collectors, but also colleagues of David Hockney, and therefore interest in his artworks does not fade.