Hockney portrait auctioned for $16.8M, benefits Royal Opera House

David Hockney, Portrait of Sir David Webster, 1971, sold for £12,865,000 ($16,853,000) on Oct. 22, 2020 at Christie’s London. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2020

LONDON – On October 22, 2020, Christie’s auctioned David Hockney’s Portrait of Sir David Webster, a tribute to Sir David Webster, the former General Administrator of the Royal Opera House, for £12,865,000 ($16,853,000) in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction.

The painting was offered by the Royal Opera House with proceeds from the sale contributing towards vital funding they require.  This will go some way to alleviating the financial impact of coronavirus on the world-renowned arts venue to, the most serious crisis the organization has had to face. This will allow the Royal Opera House not just to survive but to thrive in its future programming. Painted in 1971, it depicts Webster in the artist’s studio, seated upon a Mies van der Rohe “MR” chair before a glass table.

Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said: “As we face the biggest crisis in our history, the sale of David Hockney’s wonderful portrait of Sir David Webster, is a vital part of our strategy for recovery. The painting sold for £12,865,000, and the proceeds will be used by us to ensure that the world’s greatest artists can once more return to our stages. This will allow the Royal Opera House to sustain our community of artists through this period, and to ensure we can continue to delight audiences for decades to come with extraordinary ballet, dance, music and opera.”

Katharine Arnold, Christie’s Co-Head, Post-War and Contemporary Art Europe, said: “As a long-established British institution, Christie’s is proud to have achieved a price of £12,865,000 for this major painting by David Hockney. This will contribute to supporting the future of the Royal Opera House, which is a great national treasure.

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