David Hockney’s painting of his ex-lover has just become the most expensive painting by a living artist ever sold.
On Thursday, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) smashed the auction record for a living artist when it was sold for a whopping $90,312,500 at Christie’s auction house in New York City.
Created in 1972, the painting is based on two separate photographs, one taken at a villa in Saint-Tropez and the other taken in London.
Peter Schlesinger, Hockney’s then lover and muse, is the figure seen wearing the pink jacket in the 3 metre by 2 metre painting.
The 81-year-old English painter, printmaker, stage designer and photographer is recognised as one of the most significant contributors to the pop art movement of the 1960s. He is also one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.
The painting features two of Hockney’s most famous motifs, that of pools and the male figure. He has also explored gay sexuality and love in his work
According to ArtNews, the previous record for a work by a living artist at auction was held by Jeff Koons. In in 2013 the orange version of his Balloon Dog sculpture was sold for $58.4 million.
It is unclear how Hockney feels about the historic sale of his painting. His art dealer originally sold Portrait of an Artist in 1972 for around $20,000.