Portrait of an Artist David Hockney
David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (1974)

Pretty much every major Christie’s auction breaks some kind of record, but their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening in New York in November has one hell of a headline piece. Part of David Hockney’s iconic series of swimming-pool paintings, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) has been given an estimate of $80m – that’s over £61m. If the gavel does go down for that, it’ll make the painting the most expensive ever sold from a living artist, and by a huge margin than previous record-holder, the $58m Balloon Dog (Orange) by Jeff Koons. Given that Hockney’s is one of the most famous paintings in the world… well, we’re not betting against it.

The Current Record Holders

The ‘by a living artist’ bit of Hockney’s soon-to-be-claimed title makes a huge difference – and not just to the artist himself. Compared to the most expensive works of all time, he still has a long way to go.

1st Place: Salvator Mundi Leonardo Di Vinci (sold for $450.3m)

Salvator Mundi Leonardo Di Vinci

2nd Place: Interchange Willem De Kooning (sold for $300m)

Interchange Willem De Kooning

3rd Place: The Card Players Paul Cézanne (sold for $250m)

The Card Players Paul Cézanne
© Photo RMN – Hervé Lewandowski