Hockney painting sells for massive sum at Sotheby's

'The Splash' sells for almost $30M

LONDON — David Hockney’s exuberant painting “The Splash” sold at auction Tuesday for almost $30 million.

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The painting fetched 23.1 million pounds ($30 million) at Sotheby's in London. Its pre-sale estimate had been 20 million pounds to 30 million pounds.

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

Two Sotheby's employees adjust David Hockney's painting 'The Splash' at Sotheby's contemporary Art sale preview in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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

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“The Splash” was last sold in 2006, when it fetched $5.4 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 70 million pounds ($90 million), paid at a Christie’s auction in 2018 for another pool painting, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures).”