In recent art world news, British artist David Hockney’s iconic painting “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” (1972) set an auction sale record for a living artist when it sold for an astonishing $90.3 million in mid-November at Christie’s in New York.  Previously, American artist Jeff Koons’ steel sculpture “Balloon Dog (Orange)” (1994-2000) held the auction sale record for a living artist when it sold for $58.4 million in November 2013 at Christie’s in New York.

The masterwork blends two of Hockney’s overriding themes from the late 1960s and 1970s, “the glittering abstraction of the pool from his swimming pool landscapes and the emotional complexity of his double portraits.”  It appears at first that the painting depicts the idyllic Los Angeles moment, but the scene is actually in the south of France, not the Hollywood Hills, and the pool is from British filmmaker Tony Richardson’s villa there.

According to Christie’s, the sale of Hockney’s painting generated much advance excitement.  The auction house was packed, despite a New York snowstorm, with art collectors, advisors, dealers and media filling both the main sale room and an overflow room as 600 people seated and 60 more standing watched the iconic work go up on the auction block.  Christie’s estimated that the painting would sell for about $80 million.  A bidding war went on for over nine minutes (considered very long in auction terms) until the painting was sold.  The auction house won’t reveal the identity of the winning bidder.

Earlier this year, in May, Hockney’s “Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica” (1990) sold at Sotheby’s in New York for $28.5 million, which set a new personal auction record for the artist at the time.  The recent $90.3 million sale more than triples the artist’s record.  “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” is an older and seminal work, which accounts for the much higher sum it fetched.

It will be interesting to see if any future sales of Hockney works will surpass the artist’s new impressive auction sale record for a living artist.

 

On the heels of Skate’s inaugural issue of Skate’s E-Commerce and Media Report published this past September, this week Skate’s has released its E-Commerce and Media Report for Winter 2014.  I have yet to fully digest it myself and look forward to doing so over the upcoming holidays.

From a brief review of Skate’s website under “Art Market Reports”, the Winter issue promises coverage of a wide spectrum of e-commerce and digital media appropriate topics ranging from “The World’s Top 5 Listing Models by Digital Audience”, “Art Industry Growth Leaders” (Quarterly Audience Growth), “Online Art Trading”, and  “Art Media”, to “Top Artists Online” and “The World’s Seven Biggest Living Artists by Digital Audience as of October 31, 2014”.

As noted in an excerpt from the Executive Summary of the Winter issue, “digital audience growth in the last three months has been driven mostly by e-commerce, online auctions and art auction listing platforms, demonstrating a surge of interest in online art trading.”  The excerpt continues that this digital trading art audience growth is of a global nature as it is “spread across English, French, German, and Swedish language websites[.]”

Interestingly, it was shown by Skate’s research on the digital audience of the world’s most valuable artists that “all big brands have no digital strategy to speak of; Jeff Koons is the highest rated among peers.”

To access Skate’s E-Commerce and Media Report for Winter 2014, click here (if not already registered as a Skate’s member, you can do so for free in order to access the report).

Skate’s is widely recognized as the global leader in art business intelligence since 2004.