A 1971 painting by British artist David Hockney is being shopped around by Joe Lewis, a British billionaire investor who made a fortune in currency trading the 1980’s and 90’s. Lewis has set the price at $80 million.
The piece—‘Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)’—was painted when Hockney was 34, and living in Los Angeles. Hockney was teaching at UCLA at the time. The standing figure is Hockney’s boyfriend of the period, artist Peter Schlesinger.
The sale price of the painting could be a defining moment for Hockney collectors. Hockney’s paintings have sold for millions, and have been increasingly exciting entries at art auctions.
In 2008, a 1966-67 painting by Hockney—‘Beverly Hills Housewife’—sold for just under $8 million. The sale was followed by the auction performance of the eerie ‘Woldgate Woods’; that work, which dates to 2006, sold for around $12.25 million in 2016. This year has seen another two Hockney paintings sell for extraordinary sums at auction; ‘Piscine de Medianoche (Paper Pool 30)’ sold for $11.74 million, followed at the same auction by ‘Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica’, which sold for $28.5 million, and was painted in 1990.
Hockney, now in his 80’s, has also created theatrical set design for productions of plays and operas. He has also worked with photography, printing, and video, and computer.
Joe Lewis currently lives in the Bahamas. His net worth is estimated at $5 billion.