David Hockney - Portrait of Sir David Webster ©Christie´s



London – On 22 October 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 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 organisation 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, Co – Head, Post – War and Contemporary Art Europe:

“ 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.

About the Royal Opera House Home to The Royal Ballet

The Royal Opera and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House our vision is to give everyone access to exceptional ballet and opera.

Since closing our doors due to the global pandemic in March 2020, the Royal Opera House has continued to bring together the world’s most extraordinary artists and curated the #OurHouseToYourHouse programme of 19 streams, 4 socially distanced live concerts and a suite of online content that has been viewed over 315 million times in 183 countries.

The Royal Opera House continues its #OurHouseToYourHouse programme this autumn, bringing audi ences the best of the ROH through a new series of live performances, cinema screenings, Friday Premieres and cultural highlights in partnership with the BBC and Sky Arts. We hope to welcome back socially distanced audiences in the near future.

The Royal Opera House is committed to widening participation and deepening learning for all ages. This summer we launched Create and Learn, offering free online home – learning opportunities for children and young people. In addition, The Royal Ballet partnered with Cast and Doncaster Council to support Doncaster residents with online resources and remote direction to create a unique community dance film, Doncaster Dances.


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