Christie's eyes Hockney record at May auction

Slideshow ( 2 images )

LONDON (Reuters) - Christie’s expects to fetch an auction record for a David Hockney painting at a sale in New York in May when it offers “Beverly Hills Housewife,” estimated to be worth $7-10 million.

The 1966/67 work depicts its owner, arts patron Betty Freeman, standing on the patio of her home. The diptych measures 12 feet long and six feet high.

Hockney had asked Freeman, who died in January aged 87, if he could come to her house to paint her swimming pool for his renowned “California Dreaming” series. The current auction record for a work by Hockney is $5.4 million for “The Splash,” sold at Sotheby’s in London. In addition to Beverly Hills Housewife, the New York post-war and contemporary art evening sale will also feature works from Freeman’s collection by Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder and Andy Warhol.

“David Hockney’s epic Beverly Hills Housewife ... remains a perfect, timeless tribute to Freeman, a modern-day Medici, who will be remembered as an influential patron of our contemporary culture,” said Laura Paulson, Christie’s international director of post-war and contemporary art.

The painting is on public display at Christie’s headquarters in London until March 26.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato