The Times reported that, earlier this week, a Sotheby's auction produced new highs for three African-American artists and a 42-year-old female painter. Hockney's sold his painting for $18,000 in 1972.
The previous record was held by Jeff Koons's "Baloon Dog (Orange)", which sold in 2013 for $58.4 million.
There's a new record for a painting by a living artist. Bidding started at $18 million and finished at $80 million with the final price including a buyer's premium, Christie's said in a release.
The painting led Christie's postwar and contemporary evening sale that totaled $357.2 million, within the estimated range.
The painting was inspired by two photographs on the floor of Hockney's studio, one of the man standing and another of the swimmer.
He began a new work that cast his former lover and favourite muse, California artist Peter Schlesinger, as a young man looking down at a swimming figure.
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"I must admit I loved working on that picture", Hockney has said.
His career took off after he moved to Los Angeles in the 60s.
Hockney's painting was sold at a Christie's auction in NY with the painting having increased in value from the modest $18,000 that Hackney's NY dealer fetched for it in 1972.
The sales across rival houses offer a chance to see works often not viewed in public for decades and theatrical displays of purchasing power by a new generation of buyers, more worldwide than ever.
The most expensive work of art by a living artist is now a painting by out artist David Hockney.
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