Last month, a prized David Hockney portrait from the holdings of the financially strapped London Royal Opera House brought in £12.8 million ($16.9 million) when it sold at Christie’s. Some mourned the fact that the work would now disappear from public view, but it now seems those concerns were misplaced.
A new Art Newspaper report reveals that the buyer of Hockney’s Portrait of Sir David Webster (1971) is David Ross, the cofounder of Carphone Warehouse—and the chair of the Royal Opera House’s board of trustees. According to the report, he will return the work to the opera house once the purchase is finalized. He also has plans to loan it to the reopening exhibition of London’s National Portrait Gallery, where Ross is a trustee, in 2023.
At the Christie’s London contemporary auction, which generated $65 million total, there were only two bidders competing for the work: its third-party guarantor, a private collector abroad, and Ross, who won the painting at a bid of £11 million ($14.4 million) at the low estimate, and £12.8 million with buyer’s fees ($16.9 million), in the process keeping it from leaving the U.K. The expensive save marks the sixth-highest price paid for a Hockney at auction.Continue Reading