2. David Hockney (b. 1937)
Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972
Price realised: USD 90,312,500
David Hockney’s reign as world’s most expensive living artist only lasted a little over six months. His 1972 “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” was sold for $90,3 million at Christie’s auction in New York in 2018.
This work has become one of his most celebrated and recognisable images. It has appeared in numerous retrospectives, and in 2017 was the cover image for the catalogue accompanying Tate Britain’s retrospective, David Hockney (which toured to the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Met in New York). The show attracted almost half a million people, becoming Tate’s most visited exhibition ever. Its auction result, nearly tripled Hockney’s past record of $28.4 million, by Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica (1990). Also, it marked the fourth new auction record for Hockney set within two years, amidst the major traveling retrospective of his work.