$90.3m: The genius of David Hockney proves masterpieces don’t need gimmicks

David Hockney Portrait of an Artist Pool

The record-breaking David Hockney auction today proves that “real masterpieces do not need gimmicks,” affirms renowned art dealer, Stephen Howes.

The comments from the founder of Thomas Crown Art, the world’s leading art-tech agency, come as the British artist’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold Thursday for $90.3m in Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York City.

This beats the $58.4 million record previously set by Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog in 2013.

Mr Howes observes: “This is truly one of the most iconic paintings of the 20th century and has justifiably smashed the world record for the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction.

“This momentous sale further galvanizes the pieces’ rightful place as a true masterpiece and further cements Hockney’s place in the highest echelons of art history.”

He goes on to add: “This record-breaking David Hockney auction today proves that real masterpieces do not need gimmicks – they stand and deliver on their own merit.

“It flies in the face of that hideous recent pantomime when Banksy’s famous Girl With Balloon ‘self-shredded’ as the hammer came down at auction.

“Bizarrely, that prank has apparently made that piece’s value soar – which, it can be reasonably assumed, Banksy knew would happen.

“That stunt was not about the art at all, it was all about the art of publicity. The whole trick was plainly embarrassing and those involved must be called out for it.”

He goes on to add: “Should David Hockney’s masterpiece have been shredded today, it would have rendered it pretty much worthless – unlike Girl With Balloon which apparently increased in value. Why? Because one piece is a work of fine art and the other is a stencilled publicity stunt.”

Mr Howes concludes: “David Hockney’s artistic genius has been signed, sealed and delivered. It is likely that it will be many more years until another living artist beats this record-breaking auction.”

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