The art market in 2019 definitely signed an increase compared to the sales of 2018. The general tendency highlighted a balance between supply and demand. As for the previous year, Asian buyers played a key role as art investors. However, there is an even more important data sales are showing. The great majority of the most expensive artworks sold in 2019 dates after 1960. Collectors are for instance moving towards contemporary works.
Art market records in 2019
Before digging in the record sales of 2019 it’s important to focus on two world-famed artists that set their personal best this year. American artist Brian Donnelly, known professionally as Kaws, overcame his last year’s record. “The Kaws Album” sold for $14.8 million in Hong Kong, five times his previous record of $2.7 million. For instance, Kaws’ unique style between fine arts, illustration and commercials confirms its success.
On the other side, Banksy dominated Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale in London setting a record of $12.2 for his “Devolved Parliament”.
Those are some of the most expensive paintings sold in 2018:
Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986
The stainless steel figure sold for more than $91 million in New York. It was initially proposed to sell for between $50 and $70 million. Koons’ 1986 sculpture is one of three in the edition. The second is located at the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles. This artwork aroused particularly the debate in the art world.
Robert Rauschenberg, Buffalo II, 1964
The prominent member of the American Post-War avant-garde signed with this work his record sales. The canvas includes all the main symbols of American society at that time. In particular, the ability of the artists to combine and include different materials in his works created an untraditional form of art that is still incredibly successful.
Pablo Picasso, Femme Au Chien, 1962
“Famme Au Chien” is among Picasso’s late works. Sold to Wynn Fine Art it exceeded consistently the estimated price of $30 million. In particular, the painting depicts Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline Roque alongside Picasso’s Afghan Hound.
Andy Warhol, Double Elvis, 1963
“Double Elvis” features two screen-printed images of the rock and roll American icon put on a silver background. The artwork is part of a wider collection Andy Warhol created especially for his second solo exhibition at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. Another Double Elvis is currently in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Ed Ruscha. Hurting the Word Radio #2
“Hurting the Word Radio #2” perfectly represents Edward Joseph Ruscha’s c-clamp paintings. The impressive painting marked the sales record for the artist soaring above his previous record of $30.4 million, achieved in 2014 for his 1963 work “Smash”.