Not everyone is fortunate enough to have their artwork recognized and be prized while they are still living. But this year 81-year-old British painter David Hockney is in the running to become the most expensive living artist at auction. A painting of his titled “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” has been offered for auction by billionaire Joe Lewis, who wants a cool $80 million for the painting.
While Christie’s is the frontrunner, other auction houses like Phillips and Sotheby’s have also been approached. Lewis’ personal collection of art includes invaluable pieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. The news of the painting being offered to auction houses remains unconfirmed for now as Lewis’ representatives did not respond to requests for comments and the sources who revealed the news opted to remain anonymous.
Meanwhile the painting itself depicts two individuals, one swimming in a pool while the other looks on. The standing man in the scene is supposedly Hockney’s ex-boyfriend Peter Schlesinger who is also an artist. Hockney’s works have increased in value substantially from last year. His most expensive work is a 1990 landscape called “Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica,” which fetched $28.5 million.