It hasn’t really been a secret that Christie’s has one of the most important David Hockney dual portraits to sell this Autumn. Katya Kazakina was the first to report that Joe Lewis would be selling his Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972 for a princely sum that is three times the record price paid for the artist. We’ll have more detail on the progression of the Hockney market in a post for AMMpro subscribers. But here let’s simply say that two years ago, a small sketch for this work was sold for twice the high estimate of $1m. The last time a portrait from this era sold was nine years ago. The estate of collector Betty Freeman, who was the subject of a massive 12-foot-wide 1967 portrait, realized $7.9m then. It was followed six months later by the smaller California Art Collector (1964) which made $5.4m.
How much a collector will be willing to pay for this work is one of the great market questions. Nothing like it has come up for auction since 2003 when the artist’s Portrait of Nick Wilder was sold. The Contemporary art market has seen values rise by many multiples since 2003. The question that will be revealed in November is how that multiplication can be applied to the Hockney market. Until then, here’s Christie’s press release on the painting:Continue Reading