David Hockney’s $90.3-million pool painting obliterates auction record for work by a living artist

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David Hockney’s $90.3-million pool painting obliterates auction record for work by a living artist

“Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” depicts a slender man with feathery, golden hair and wearing a peach-colored blazer, overlooking a swimmer in a glistening pool surrounded by lush, green hills. It seems, at first, the perfect Los Angeles moment: a sun-swept afternoon of leisure at a hillside home. And it’s indicative of a turn in the artist’s career, as he began painting his iconic swimming pool landscapes when he moved to Los Angeles in the mid-’60s. But the scene depicted is actually in the south of France, not the Hollywood Hills. The pool itself is from filmmaker Tony Richardson’s villa there. The standing figure in the picture is the artist’s ex-partner, Peter Schlesinger, who’d been an art student at UCLA and was in one of Hockney’s classes.

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