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Art Market & You : AUCTION RECORD BY DAVID HOCKNEY

Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we discuss the latest auction record set by David Hockney

As the Fall auction season in New York progresses, we see another new record set.

David Hockney : The Most Expensive Living Artist

Recenetly, there as been much ado about David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972). The painting had been slated for sale at Christie’s Postwar and Contemporary Evening sale in New York. With a pre-sale estimate of approximately $80 million. This meant that just by reaching its estimate, it would become the most expensive work at auction. And Hockney’s work would beat previous record holder – Jeff Koons’ $58.4 million Balloon Dog (Orange) – out of the park.

Hockney’s own personal record had previously been set in spring 2018. When his Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica sold for an record $28.5 million at Sotheby’s. On November 15, 2018, his Portrait went beyond its estimate and sold for Chritie’s at $90.3 million. With this, the British artist officially became the most expensive artist alive.

Implications on the Market and the Artist

While Christie’s and their consignor celebrate this landmark moment in art auction history, we are forced to look at the difficult reality of the situation.

Since auctions are part of the tertiary art market – which implies a transaction between consignor, auction house and buyer – the artist gains no direct monetary benefit from such sales. An artist gains monetarily only when she sells directly from her studio. All subsequent sales take place either on the secondary market (through private galleries) or the tertiary market. So, while Hockney’s work sold for a whopping $90.3 million, the artist himself unfortunately got no part of the money.

That being said, the sale is sure to impact the artist’s overall reputation and market value.


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