Humans have been creating art for thousands of years, painting on cave walls, chapel ceilings, and life-size canvases. Recently, 81-year-old, David Hockney’s painting, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold for $90.3 million at an auction, the highest ever for any living artist.
The record-breaking painting was sold at an auction held by Christie’s in New York City. Hockney’s artwork broke a record set by artist Jeff Koons whose Orange Balloon Dog sculpture fetched $58.4 million in 2013.
This painting is considered to be one of the most iconic works by Hockney, who worked for 18 hours a day for two weeks to finish this artwork in 1972 using acrylic paint.
The painting depicts two men: one, fully clothed, standing at the edge of the pool gazing down at the other, who is submerged in the water.
He was initially influenced by 2 photographs lying in his studio. “One was of a figure swimming underwater and therefore quite distorted… the other was a boy gazing at something on the ground,’ Hockney recalls.
Why do some artworks fetch so much money?
Today art has become an alternative investment for billionaires. When people save money, they can invest their money in different ways. For example, you save a couple of thousand rupees and buy some amount of gold at the current price. You can then sell it at a profit if gold prices increase in the future. Similarly, collectors who have deep pockets can afford to buy such artworks and can choose to make a profit by selling these artworks when their value appreciates.
Hockney considers Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh as a huge source of inspiration. Ironically Van Gogh sold only one painting in his entire lifetime. Hopefully collectors today are investing in art works created by not only celebrated artists, but also newer artists who are breaking new barriers through their works.
Written by: Chandni Shah. Chandni is a picture book collector, an educator and founder of Simplifly, a learning venture for children.