Top 10 Most Expensive Artworks of 2013
10) Jean Michel-Basquiat – Dustheads
‘Dustheads’ is “the ultimate tour-de-force of expressive line, color and form”, produced by an artist once described as “art's answer to Jimi Hendrix and Charlie Parker". Painted in 1982, during an important phase in Jean Michel-Basquiat’s career when he began to find both fame and critical acclaim within the art world, ‘Dustheads’ is a seminal work.
It sold at Christie’s in New York in May 2013 for $48,843,750 – establishing a new top auction price for the artist and breaking the previous one by almost $20 million.
9) Alberto Giacometti – Grande tête mince (Grande tête de Diego)
Describing his style, a friend of Alberto Giacometti once stated “he would make your head look like the blade of a knife”. His 1955 bronze sculptural bust of his brother Diego, ‘Grande tête mince (Grande tête de Diego)’ certainly lives up to this description.
The bust was sold as part of Sotheby’s New York Impressionist & Modern Art auction in November 2013, for a price of $50,005,000 - the third highest price ever achieved at auction for the Swiss artist.
8) Roy Lichtenstein – Woman with Flowered Hat
Lichtenstein’s 1963 painting was part of the artist’s assault on the ideals of ‘high art’, as the work of Pop artists drew from more modern sources such as comic books, graphic design and commercial illustration. The work is clearly based on Pablo Picasso’s portraits of Dora Maar, but the takeoff is as much a celebration as a rejection - "the things that I have apparently parodied I actually admire," Lichtenstein later said.
The painting was sold at Christie’s New York in May 2013 for $56,123,750, setting a new auction record for the artist.
7) Andy Warhol- Coca-Cola (3)
“..nothing is more iconic than the remarkable hand-painted Coca-Cola by the master of Pop Art, Andy Warhol,” said Christie’s. The unique painting was offered at auction from the Mugrabi Collection –the world’s largest private collection of Warhol works with over 800 pieces.
It was sold as part of Christie’s record-breaking Post War and Contemporary Art sale in November 2013 for $57,285,000, making it the fifth-most expensive Warhol artwork in history.
6) Jackson Pollock – Number 19, 1948
From 1947 to 1950, Jackson Pollock produced a series of drip paintings which revolutionized both American painting and 20th century art in general. ‘Number 19’, painted in 1948, is described as “one of the richest most engaging and successfully resolved of all these famous works”, and was singled out by critics of the time as one of his finest paintings.
It sold at Christie’s in New York in May 2013 for $58,363,750, setting a new world record price for the artist at auction.
5) Jeff Koons – Balloon Dog (Orange)
The gigantic, three-metre tall metallic sculpture was created by Koons as part of his ‘Celebrations’ series which began in 1994. “To own this work immediately positions the buyer alongside the very top collectors in the world and transforms a collection to an unparalleled level of greatness,” said Christie’s prior to the sale.
It sold at Christie’s in New York in November 2013 for $58,405,000, setting a new world record price for a living artist and transforming somebody’s collection to an unparalleled level of greatness.
4) Andy Warhol – Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)
Sotheby’s described Warhol’s 1963 work ‘Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)’ as “the most important work of Contemporary art we have ever had the privilege to offer”.
It was certainly the most valuable, as it sold for $105,445,000 in November 2013 – exceeding the previous auction record for a Warhol work by over $30 million.
3) Barnett Newman – Anna’s Light
Barnett Newman’s 1968 painting ‘Anna’s Light’ was sold privately in October 2013 by DIC Corporation – Japan’s leading manufacturer of ink, lacquers and chemicals – for a price of $105.7 million.
The monumental painting had been part of the company’s corporate art collection since 1990, and been displayed at the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in Sakura. It was sold to an anonymous company, who stated that the painting would be made available for public view.
2) Francis Bacon - Three Studies of Lucian Freud
In November 2013 Christie’s conducted the biggest art auction in history, as the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York achieved an incredible total of $691.6 million.
Leading the sale was Francis Bacon’s triptych ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ – described as “an undeniable icon of 20th Century art” – which sold for $142,405,000, making the most valuable artwork ever sold at auction.
1) Pablo Picasso - Le Reve
In 2006, Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn agreed a deal to sell Pablo Picasso’s 1932 painting ‘Le Reve’ to hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen for a then-record $139 million. Whilst showing the painting to a group of friends for a final time, he accidentally put his elbow through it – and the deal was swiftly called off.
Seven years, a $90,000 repair and a lawsuit against his insurers later, Wynn eventually completed the sale to Cohen in March 2013 for a reported price of $155 million – a world record price for a Picasso painting.
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