Peter Schlesinger rejects interpretation of work that has broken record for living artist
It has been interpreted as the depiction of a very particular moment in the romantic life of David Hockney. Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), which sold for $90.3m (£70.3m) at auction in New York last week, shows his former lover and muse standing beside a pool – and a man who might be the painter’s new boyfriend swimming under water.
But Peter Schlesinger, Hockney’s ex-partner who was one of his students at the University of California, Los Angeles, has rejected the interpretation of the work that has now made the Yorkshire-born painter the world’s most highly valued living artist. He says it is not an “emotional” depiction – and is probably not even, in any meaningful sense, a portrait of him.