The World’s Top Selling Artwork

It seems certain paintings come onto the market just to set new records at the auction houses. The artists are usually household names, such as Picasso, Van Gogh, or Renoir. An important work by a big name can command prices easily in excess of $100 million.

The World's Top Selling Artwork

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Market Forces

The demand for these valuable artworks is driven by collectors, and these days buyers understand what makes a work of art significant and they do their research. They understand their art history and don’t rely just on what Sotheby’s or Christie’s write in their catalogues. When interested in a piece, they will be looking at the artwork’s place in the artist’s career and how many important exhibitions it has appeared in.

When an important piece is up for sale there will an active and solvent group of people who will be an anxiously tracking its performance at auction. Some of them will be there in person, some will be placing bids on the phone.

The number of art collectors is growing, fuelled by cachet and economic growth which stimulates competition for highly sought after pieces. Collecting art not only has glamour, but as the stock market continues to be volatile, art is seen as an investment that not only holds its value but can be counted on to increase.

Raising Interest

International auctioneers have the contacts, plus teams of experts with global reach, to source the finest art in the world. When a work of significance comes into play, it will be toured through important markets in destinations such as Hong Kong, New York, London and the Middle East. A rigorous social programme will expose the work to potential buyers through dinners and cocktail parties.

This report from The Telegraph lists some important paintings and the vast sums that they were sold for, including the $170.4 million achieved for Modiligliani’s Nu Couché (Reclining Nude) at Christie’s in November last year, the second-highest price reached at auction for a painting.

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But numbers and fancy parties aside, when buying art there is only really one important thing to consider: that is how you feel about a particular artwork, or rather what you feel when you gaze upon it.

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