$90 million painting sale makes David Hockney the world's most expensive living artist

  • The sale of David Hockney's work smashes auction estimates with $90.3 million sale
  • Hockney is now the most expensive living artist in the world, overtaking Jeff Koons. 

A British currency trader turned billionaire just catapulted David Hockney to status as the world's most expensive living artist after selling one of Hockney's most famous works for a record $90.3 million

Joe Lewis, the East End-born owner of financial firm Tavistock Group and the Tottenham Hotspur football team,  sold "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures),” putting Hockney, 81, now above American Jeff Koons, 63, who held the title since 2013, when his orange balloon dog sold for $58.4 million. The painting broke its $80 million estimate at a Christie's auction on November 15. 

20 PHOTOS
David Hockney becomes world's most expensive living artist
See Gallery
David Hockney becomes world's most expensive living artist
Visitors watch the painting "Portrait of an artist (pool with two figures)" by David Hockney during a media preview by the Christie's auction house in Hong Kong Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. The painting is expected to fetch US$80 million at the Christie's New York evening sale in November. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
The painting "Portrait of an artist (pool with two figures)" by David Hockney is displayed during a media preview by the Christie's auction house in Hong Kong Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. The painting is expected to fetch US$80 million at the Christie's New York evening sale in November. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
David Hockney's "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" is on display at Christie's auction house, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in New York. One of the British artist's famous "pool paintings" will be auctioned at Christie's in November, and is considered one of his premier works. Christie's has estimated the work at about $80 million, but says it expects it to sell for more. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
A Christie's employee approaches David Hockney's "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)," Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in New York. One of the British artist's famous "pool paintings" will be auctioned at Christie's in November, and is considered one of his premier works. Christie's has estimated the work at about $80 million, but says it expects it to sell for more. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
A Christie's employee take a cell phone photo of David Hockney's "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)," Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in New York. One of the British artist's famous "pool paintings" will be auctioned at Christie's in November, and is considered one of his premier works. Christie's has estimated the work at about $80 million, but says it expects it to sell for more. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
British artist David Hockney sits in front of The Queen's Window, a new stained glass window at Westminster Abbey, London, designed by David Hockney and revealed for the first time on Wednesday Sept. 26, 2018. (Victoria Jones/Pool via AP)
British artist David Hockney stands in front of The Queen's Window, a new stained glass window at Westminster Abbey, London, designed by David Hockney and revealed for the first time on Wednesday Sept. 26, 2018. (Victoria Jones/Pool via AP)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 8: David Hockney at The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) annual Celebration of the Creative Spirit Scholarship Benefit Gala at Park Hyatt on May 8, 2018 in New York City. Credit: Diego Corredor/MediaPunch /IPX
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 8: David Hockney at The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) annual Celebration of the Creative Spirit Scholarship Benefit Gala at Park Hyatt on May 8, 2018 in New York City. Credit: Diego Corredor/MediaPunch /IPX
Renowned British painter David Hockney poses during the unveiling of a huge painting he is donating to the Pompidou Center in Paris, "The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire.", in Paris, France, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. The 2011 painting includes 32 panels stretching more than 3 meters high and nearly 10 meters wide, and goes on display this week as part of a traveling retrospective of the 80-year-old Hockney's work. (AP photo/Francois Mori)
Renowned British painter David Hockney poses during the unveiling of a huge painting he is donating to the Pompidou Center in Paris, "The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire.", in Paris, France, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. The 2011 painting includes 32 panels stretching more than 3 meters high and nearly 10 meters wide, and goes on display this week as part of a traveling retrospective of the 80-year-old Hockney's work. (AP photo/Francois Mori)
FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2017, file photo, a Tate representative poses for photographs next to British artist David Hockney's "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) during a photo call to promote the largest-ever retrospective of his work at Tate Britain gallery in London. The painting, considered one of Hockney's premier works, was sold at auction by Christie's in New York for $90.3 million. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
The auctioneer takes bids for the sale of David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale November 15, 2018 at Christie's in New York. - David Hockneys Famed Pool Scene Sells for $90.3 M. at Christies, New Record for Work by Living Artist at Auction. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP) (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
The auctioneer takes bids for the sale of David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale November 15, 2018 at Christie's in New York. - David Hockneys Famed Pool Scene Sells for $90.3 M. at Christies, New Record for Work by Living Artist at Auction. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP) (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
The auctioneer takes bids for the sale of David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale November 15, 2018 at Christie's in New York. - David Hockneys Famed Pool Scene Sells for $90.3 M. at Christies, New Record for Work by Living Artist at Auction. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP) (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
A crowd of people attend the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale where David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)is displayed at Christie's in New York November 15, 2018. - David Hockneys Famed Pool Scene Sells for $90.3 M. at Christies, New Record for Work by Living Artist at Auction. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP) (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
English artist David Hockney's 'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)' (back) is displayed near French sculptor Auguste Rodin's Eve, 'Grand Modele' (R) during a Christie's auction preview in Hong Kong on September 27, 2018. - The painting will be auctioned during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on November 15 at Christie's New York with an estimate in the region of 80 million USD. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Artist David Hockney poses in front of The Queen's Window, a new stained glass window at Westminster Abbey he designed and which was created by Barley Studio York, as it is revealed for the first time on September 26, 2018 in London, England. The window - the artist's first work in stained glass - reflects the Queen's love for and connection with the countryside. (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
A woman looks at David Hockneys 'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)' during a press preview on September 13, 2018 at Christie's New York. - The painting is to be auctioned during Christie's November 2018 Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art. Christie's expects the painting to sell for 80 million USD, making the work the most valuable piece of art by a living artist ever sold at auction. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman looks at David Hockneys 'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)' during a press preview on September 13, 2018 at Christie's New York. - The painting is to be auctioned during Christie's November 2018 Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art. Christie's expects the painting to sell for 80 million USD, making the work the most valuable piece of art by a living artist ever sold at auction. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Lewis has an estimated net worth of $5 billion and also owns pieces by Picasso, Degas, Klimt, and Freud. 

The painting was bought by a client of Marc Porter, chairman of Christie's Americas. Bidding started at $18 million and finished at $80 million with the final price including a buyer's premium, Christie's said in a release. Hockney's 1972 work depicts a landscape reminiscent of the South of France containing two men including the artist's former lover Peter Schlesinger.

Another of Hockney's works, a 1990 landscape “Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica,” fetched $28.5 million at Sotheby's in May. 

More from Business Insider:

Read Full Story