The Splash by David Hockney, £21m at Sotheby’s.

The top lot of the week by some distance was David Hockney’s (b.1937) The Splash that led Sotheby’s Contemporary art evening sale on February 11. Knocked down at £21m against an estimate of £20m-30m, it set the third-highest price for a work by the artist.

The price for the 1966 painting showed the growth in the artist’s market since the picture sold in the same saleroom in 2006 for £2.9m including premium – a record for the artist at the time. Nine of the top 10 prices for Hockney have been set in the past two years with the record now standing at $80m (£61.6m) for Artist (Pool with Two Figures), sold at Christie's in New York in 2018.

The Splash is one of three similar paintings by Hockney. The auction house had arranged for a third party to guarantee the lot.

The Sotheby’s sale generated a £92.5m premium-inclusive total with 43 of 46 lots sold on the night.

Christie’s evening sale the following night lacked any consignments close to this level, generating a £56.2m total from 55 lots of which 54 sold. It was led by an acrylic and silkscreen of Muhammed Ali, one of Andy Warhol’s (1928-87) Athletes series, that was knocked down within estimate at £4.2m.

Bonhams is holding its Post-War & Contemporary Art Sale in London on March 12 with the headline lot being Pierre Soulages’ (b.1919) Peinture pitched at £5.5m-7.5m.