David Hockney Just Became the Highest-Selling Living Artist

An auctioneer takes bids for the sale of David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist at Christie's in New York

An iconic 1972 painting by British artist David Hockney soared to $90.3 million at Christie's on Thursday.

The previous highest-selling living artist in the world was Jeff Koons, whose orange balloon dog sold for $58.4 million back in 2013.

Both the buyer and seller of Portrait of an Artist remain unknown.

"Salvator Mundi", a painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, sold for an eye-popping $450.3 million at a November 2017 Christie's auction, making it the most expensive piece of art ever sold.

"One was of a figure swimming underwater and therefore quite distorted ... the other was a boy gazing at something on the ground", Hockney said.

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The 1974 biopic "A Bigger Splash" documented its creation, and Hockney himself wrote about the painting in detail in 1988's "David Hockney by David Hockney: My Early Years".

In a virtually unprecedented move for such a valuable painting, "Portrait of an Artist", which was on exhibition at Tate Britain, the Pompidou Centre and NY s Metropolitan Museum of Art over the past two years, was sold with no reserve, the minimum price at which the consignor agrees to sell a piece.

Although the 81-year-old has lost his hearing, he continues to paint and experiment with digital art.

But, while grappling with the breakdown of their relationship, Hockney realized after months of work that he wasn't happy with the composition - the angle of the pool was all wrong.

But the artist was nearly denied his RCA diploma because he did not complete an essay, an act of rebellion as he felt he should be judged exclusively on his art.

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His career took off after he moved to Los Angeles in the 60s.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, he also became known for his double portraits, with Mr And Mrs Clark And Percy (1970-71) portraying designers Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark, along with their cat, among favourites.

It travelled to the Pompidou Centre in Paris and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY.

Before he started on his second attempt, Hockney dug up photos of the villa and his ex-lover dressed in the exact clothes as in the painting, standing in the Kensington Gardens, London.

Often a non-conformist, Hockney has spoken out about the UK's smoking ban, calling it "mean-spirited". "It's only when I stop I feel my age", he added.

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The 51-year-old explained: "I will do my damnedest in challenges so that we're not, any of us, hangry". Redknapp said he will not mind missing meals but will struggle to be without his wife.

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