藝術世界似乎已經準備好向某人贈與“最昂貴的在世藝術家”的稱號。大衛·霍克尼的繪畫中，以雙人肖像畫，湛藍的游泳池和青翠的加利福尼亞丘陵為背景等元素而為人所熟知。他的作品回顧巡迴展吸引了眾多觀眾到泰特現代美術館，龐畢度藝術中心和大都會藝術博物館，而一幅代表性的畫作將兩個人物不可磨滅地融合在一起 – Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)（1972年），這位藝術家的前情人，金髮的彼得施萊辛格，身著白色亞麻褲子和粉紅色西裝外套，盯著一個在水中的游泳男子。
就在回顧展結束幾個月之後，這幅畫的擁有者 – 英國商人喬·劉易斯（目前居住在巴哈馬群島）決定將其出售。佳士得今天在一份新聞稿中宣布，估計它的拍價會在8000萬美元左右。如果價格可達到如此之高，將超越傑夫昆斯的氣球狗（橙色）（1994-2000）在2013年以5800萬美元的價格，成為在世藝術家的最高拍價。
“David Hockney運用的色彩天分，充分展現在理想化的池畔景觀，以及人際關係中存在的巨大復雜性，”佳士得戰後當代部門聯合主席Alex Rotter在一份聲明中表示 “通過這幅畫，霍克尼鞏固了他在歷史上最受尊敬的藝術家的地位，並且到了11月，它有望成為有史以來在拍賣會上最有價值的作品。”
Preparatory photograph for Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), Le Nid-du-Duc, 1972 © David Hockney
An iconic David Hockney painting for sale at Christie’s could make him the most expensive living artist.
It seems the art world is ready to bestow upon someone new the title of “most expensive living artist.” David Hockney is renowned for his double portraits featuring two figures, and for his instantly recognizable landscapes featuring blue pools with verdant California hills rolling out behind them. When a traveling retrospective of the artist’s work drew crowds to the Tate Modern, the Centre Pompidou, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one iconic painting fused those two motifs indelibly—Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972), in which the blond figure of Peter Schlesinger, the artist’s former lover, stands in white linen pants and a hot pink suit jacket at the side of the pool staring at an oblivious swimming man submerged in the water.
Now, months after the retrospective closed, the painting’s reported owner—British businessman Joe Lewis, who is currently based in the Bahamas—has decided to sell it, and Christie’s announced today in a press release that it expects it to fetch a price in the region of $80 million. If bidding goes that high, it will easily eclipse the mark of the most expensive work by a living artist, set when Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange) (1994–2000) sold for $58 million in 2013.
“David Hockney’s brilliance as an artist is on full display with this monumental canvas, which encapsulates the essence of the idealized poolside landscape, and the tremendous complexity that exists within human relationships,” Alex Rotter, co-chairman of the postwar and contemporary department, said in a statement. “With this painting, Hockney cemented his placement within the realm of history’s most venerated artists, and come November, it is poised to become the most valuable work of art by a living artist ever sold at auction.”
The historical moment is set to go down at Christie’s New York salesroom during its postwar and contemporary evening sale this November.