The Top 50 Lots Sold at Auction in 2021 Were Worth $2.2 Billion

Marion Maneker

Thu, Dec 30, 21

The Top 50 Lots Sold at Auction in 2021 Were Worth $2.2 Billion

Ranging from Boticelli to Basquiat to Zhang Daqian, the most valuable auctioned lots are more diverse than ever


The top 50 auction lots by price tell a fascinating story of today’s art market. Taken together the sales represent $2.2 billion in transactions with an average price of just under $44 million. 


Only 24 artists had work that made it on the list. Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso each have six works on the list. Claude Monet has five; Vincent van Gogh, four; and Andy Warhol has four. Cy Twombly has three works on the list; Mark Rothko and Gerhard Richter both had two. Beeple, an artist few in the fine art market had heard of even a year ago, has two works on the list as well. 


In terms of value, Basquiat topped the top chart with $293 million in sales. Picasso followed with $255 million. Van Gogh sold $191 million. Andy Warhol posted $158 million; Cy Twombly $132 million; and Mark Rothko $120 million.


The remaining artists were no slouches either. The list beyond the repeated names reaches broadly across the globe, time and cultures to feature Frida Kahlo, Zhang Daqian, Chu Teh-chun and Sandro Botticelli, among others. 

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