September 09, 2022

What was David Hockney's most expensive painting?

By katherine foks
What was David Hockney's most expensive painting?

Drawing is rather like playing chess: your mind races ahead of the moves that you eventually make.

— David Hockney

David Hockney’s love for artwork is well-known and no surprise his love for paintings has made him the most expensive living artist. His most famous painting, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)", was sold for $90.3 million in Christie’s auction house in New York City, surpassing the previous record of $58.4 million for a living artist. It was November 2018, when the painting was auctioned for a record amount and the auction made Mr. Hockney the most expensive living artist.

However, this was not the first pool theme-based painting by Hockney. In 1964 when he moved to California for the first time and he drew interest in pool paintings. There was no looking back since then, and he depicted pools in many of his renowned paintings.

"In England, a swimming pool would have been seen as a sign of luxury, because the climate in England is not very good for outdoor pools. But in Southern California, it's not — they're simply everywhere because you can enjoy them year-round, "David Hockney said, talking about pools in his interview given to CBC Radio.

An Intriguing Story Behind Hockney’s Masterpiece Artwork

Hockney’s Masterpiece Artwork

What makes Hockney’s artwork “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” his most iconic piece and what does it depict? 

The painting depicts the amalgamation of two of Hockney's most used themes from his paintings of the late 1960s and early 1970s - Swimming Pool and Double Portrait. Apart from this, the painting also encapsulates an intriguing story that inspired Hockney to work on this painting. 

Painted in 1972, the painting is set in a landscape of southern France, near Saint-Tropez, and portrays two male figures. One male figure in white briefs is swimming underwater (the artist himself), and the other figure is a well-dressed boy in a pink jacket, standing at the edge of the pool and gazing down at the swimmer. The standing figure is Peter Schlesinger, Hockney’s former lover, and muse. 

His five-year-long relationship with Peter Schlesinger ended in 1971, and the break-up inspired him to initiation of this painting. He worked for four months on this painting in late 1971. However, discontent with the composition of the painting and the angle of the pool, he discarded the work and started afresh in early 1972. 

Hockney worked for 18 hours a day for two weeks on this painting and completed it just a night before it moved to New York for exhibition, and the rest is history. 

Click here to buy Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” painting.

Some Of The Other Famous Hockney’s Pool-Based Paintings

  1. David Hockney Print Pool
  2. David Hockney Pool and Steps 1971
  3. David Hockney Peter 1966

Before You Go, Bring Art To Your Home!

Hockney’s Pool-Based Paintings

If you are an aesthete and love to own iconic fine art prints, botanical prints, mid-century art prints, or anything else related to artwork and paintings, Stanley Street Studio is the perfect place to grow your artwork collection. 

Explore our “Shop By Artist” collection where you will find stunning paintings by popular artists like William Morris Prints, Matisse, Picasso, and Claude Monet. Moreover, you can also get some stunning art pieces based on themes like Music Prints, Vintage Art, Gallery Wall Sets, and Mid Century Art Prints

What Makes Our Prints Unique and Long-Lasting? 

Usage of 250gr Luxurious Museum Grade Paper, a top-quality digital inkjet printer, vibrant colors, and special attention to detail and finishing are some of the things that make each of our art pieces unique and durable. The colors we use are so vibrant that they can last for years. Bring your home the one you love the most and highlight your home’s aesthetics with fine art prints.