The auctioneer at Christie’s might as well have been reading telephone numbers – possibly those in the Bradford directory whose front cover in the 1980s was by the same artist – as the bids rose higher.
When the hammer went down at $90m, it must have surprised even David Hockney himself. No artist still living had sold a painting for more. Indeed, the previous record, $58m, for a work by Jeff Koons, seems paltry now.
Hockney’s piece went for $10m more than Christie’s had forecast, but they may not be the only ones to have underestimated him.
We in Yorkshire have until recently perhaps not fully appreciated the worth of the artist who came from among us. His retrospective at the Tate Britain last year, and the unveiling of his Queen’s Window at Westminster Abbey in September, changed that.
He is, especially in capturing the East Riding countryside he loves, a Yorkshire original – and one we can all appreciate, if not afford.