'The Splash' by David Hockney on display ahead of the Contemporary Art auction at Sotheby's in London, Britain, February 7, 2020.
'The Splash' by David Hockney on display ahead of the Contemporary Art auction at Sotheby's in London, Britain, February 7, 2020.

Hockney painting sells for eye-watering amount

David Hockney's exuberant painting The Splash has sold at auction for almost $A45 million.

The painting fetched 23.1 million pounds at Sotheby's in London on Tuesday.

Its pre-sale estimate had been 20 million pounds to 30 million pounds,

Painted in 1966, Hockney's bold canvas shows a California swimming pool in the moment after a diver has leapt in.

Hockney left grey Britain for southern California in the 1960s, and captured the intense Los Angeles light and the rippling surface of swimming pools in a series of paintings including A Little Splash and A Bigger Splash.

The Splash was last sold in 2006, when it fetched $A8 million at a Sotheby's auction - at the time, a record for Hockney's work.

The current record price for a work by the 82-year-old artist is $A134 million, paid at a Christie's auction in 2018 for another pool painting, Portrait Of An Artist (Pool With Two Figures).


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