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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 00:02 GMT 01:02 UK
Hockney painting sells for 2.6m
David Hockney's The Splash
The Splash depicts the instant after someone has dived into a pool

One of British artist David Hockney's most famous works, The Splash, has been sold for 2.6m at Sotheby's in London.

The painting, dating from 1966, had been in a private collection in California for the past 20 years.

The piece, in Hockney's minimalist style, depicts the moment someone hits the water, diving into a swimming pool.

Paintings by two other British artists - Peter Doig and Bridget Riley - also fetched more than 1m each in an auction which raised just over 30m.

Doig's canvas, Iron Hill, depicting the Quebecois landscape in which he grew up, achieved 1. 1m - a record auction price for the artist.

And Untitled (Diagonal Curve) by Riley fetched 1,184,000, the first time her work had passed the million pound mark.

Hockney's The Splash is part of a trio of artworks also featuring A Little Splash and A Bigger Splash. The latter is housed in the Tate Modern in London.

It was last seen in the UK during the 1970s.

The sale marks a record price for a Hockney work, beating the 1.9m set by A Neat Lawn six weeks ago.

Hockney graduated from art school in 1962 and his move to Los Angeles four years later had a profound effect on his work.

Last year, his painting Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy was shortlisted for the title of the greatest painting in Britain but was beaten by Turner's The Fighting Temeraire.

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