The composition of the two figures began as two separate photographs on the artist's studio floor and was completed in time for an exhibition at New York's André Emmerich Gallery in 1972.
An iconic 1972 painting by British artist David Hockney soared to $90.3 million at Christie's on Thursday. The previous record was held by Jeff Koons and his "Balloon Dog (Orange)", which sold for $58.4 million at Christie's in 2013.
The artist is famous for painting "swimming pool" pictures and "double portraits".
Although the painting was owned by billionaire Joe Lewis, Hockney is now enjoying the rightful exposure his work deserves.
The painting shows two men, one doing the breaststroke under water while the other watches from the side of the pool.
However, it wouldn't be until Hockney went through a bad split with Schlesinger in 1971 that the idea of the painting would come to the former. After a break, he resumed the piece the following year.
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It was acquired after nine minutes of intense bidding during Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art auction in NY on Thursday evening.
"The California landscape, the handsome trees and flowers and the sky, and then what we know him most for, which is the pool".
But, while grappling with the breakdown of their relationship, Hockney realized after months of work that he wasn't happy with the composition - the angle of the pool was all wrong.
Although the 81-year-old has lost his hearing, he continues to paint and experiment with digital art.
When the decision was reversed, Hockney was awarded a gold medal which he is said to have accepted while wearing a gold lame jacket and carrying a gold-coloured shopping bag.
The Hockney had been taken on tour to drive up potential buyer interest, in Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles. "I'm a big fan of his", he added.