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Hockney painting makes splash, sells at auction for $30M


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

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,

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

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.”

“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).”