New York — An iconic 1972 painting by British artist David Hockney soared to $90.3m at Christie’s on Thursday, smashing the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by a living artist. With Christie’s commission, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), surpassed the auction house’s pre-sale estimate of about $80m, following a bidding war between two determined would-be buyers once the work hit $70m. The previous record for a work by a living artist was held by the Jeff Koons sculpture Balloon Dog, which sold for $58.4m in 2013. Hockney’s previous auction record was $28.4m. The 1972 work by the 81-year-old British artist, one of Hockney’s most famous paintings which depicts a man in a pink jacket looking down on another figure swimming underwater in a pool, was reported to have been consigned by British billionaire currency trader Joe Lewis. Christie’s did not identify the seller or the successful bidder, who was bidding via telephone during a nearly 10-min...

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