Royal Opera House to sell off David Hockney painting in bid to stay afloat

Portrait of former chief executive and arts pioneer David Webster could fetch up to £18m

The Royal Opera House is to sell a David Hockney portrait thought to be worth as much as £18m to raise essential funds.

The painting, which was commissioned for the Covent Garden building in the 1970s, is to go up for auction later this month in an unprecedented attempt to protect the venue’s future as a home for the Royal Ballet and for international opera.

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