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The world's 10 most valuable artworks in 2018

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Last year, there were no exorbitant amounts at the auctions like "Savior of the World" by Leonardo da Vinci, sold for $ 450.3 million in 2017. But in the top 10 most expensive works sold by auction, there are new world records for major artists.

The total amount paid for the top ten lots of the outgoing year is about 915 million 157 thousand 400 dollars. It’s impressive, isn’t it?
The lion’s share of record sales fell on the Christie’s auction, and traditionally almost all top lots were sold in New York. Spring sale was a landmark event for the collection of the Rockefellers family. Some pieces of art from their collection were auctioned at the Christie’s in New York for a record $ 835 million. The works of Brancusi, Malevich, Matisse, Monet, Hopper and Hockney have set new price records. And Briton David Hockney became the most expensive living artist today, "having selected" this status from an American artist Jeff Koons.

According to the Sotheby’s auction report in 2018, their revenues reached $ 5.3 billion, exceeding the results of 2017 by 12%. This year for Sotheby’s became a landmark with a record lot for all of its history, Modigliani artwork of $ 157.2 million. Also at the auction was recorded a new artist Jenny Saville for her self-portrait "Propped" that was sold in London for $ 12.4 million and helped her to become the most expensive living artist ever in the world.
157 million 159 thousand dollars
Amedeo Modigliani, "Reclining Nude (on the left side)", 1917
Sotheby’s New York, May 14, 2018
On May 15th at the Sotheby’s auction in New York, the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani’s "Reclining Nude" was sold for $ 157.2 million. This result has become the highest auction price in the Sotheby’s history and the second most expensive Modigliani painting that has been sold at open bidding. This artwork was painted by Modigliani shortly before his death and was the largest in size — and allegedly the most "ambitious" - artist’s work. The name of the new owner of the canvas is not disclosed. It is known that the canvas was in the collection of the art dealer of Modigliani, a Ukrainian-born Leopold Zborovsky, and also exhibited at the scandalous exhibition "Niu" in Paris, which was immediately closed after the opening by the gendarmerie due to numerous complaints from visitors.

115 million dollars
Pablo Picasso, "The Girl with the Flower Basket", 1905
Christie’s New York, May 8, 2018

Part of the artworks from the collection of David Rockefeller’s was sold out in May 2018 at the Christie’s auction in New York for a record amount of $ 646 million. The record for the auction was the picture of Pablo Picasso "Girl with a Flower Basket" (1905), sold for $ 115 million. The work previously belonged to the writer Gertrude Stein. Rockefeller bought it in 1968. Picasso’s work became the most expensive lot in the auction and the most expensive piece of the "pink" period of the artist.

91 million 875 thousand dollars
Edward Hopper, "Chop Suey", 1929
Christie’s New York, November 13, 2018

Painting by Edward Hopper was sold in New York, setting new world record auction price for the artist. The 1929 canvas "Chop Suey" by Hopper, America’s most popular modernist, went for $91.875 million after being valued pre-sale at an estimated $70−100 million. It was the jewel in the crown of a remarkable collection of 20th century American art amassed by US entrepreneur Barney Ebsworth, who made his fortune in travel and cruises.

Christie’s had marketed "Chop Suey" as "the most iconic painting by Hopper left in private hands" and the price tag chalked up a whopping profit on the $180,000 Ebsworth paid for the work in 1973.
Edward Hopper. Chop sui
Chop sui
1929, 96.5×81 cm
90 million 312 thousand 500 dollars
David Hockney, "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)", 1972
Christie’s New York, November 15, 2018

One of the most iconic images in the artist’s oeuvre was realised $90.3 million to become the most expensive work of art by a living artist sold at auction. The bidding began with $ 18 million, but thanks to rush at Christie’s, price had jumped of $ 55 million. From this point on, the struggle continued between four bidders until the price reached 80 million dollars — in fact, a pre-sale estimate. Given the fees, the total amount was $ 90.3 million, and Hockney overthrew Jeff Koons from the pedestal of the world’s most expensive living artist.

The work was previously owned by billionaire record exec David Geffen, who sold it to a private collector in 1995.

85 million 812 thousand 500 dollars
Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition, 1916
Christie’s New York, May 15, 2018

The dimensions of this painting by Kazimir Malevich are only 88 cm by 71 cm, but this small canvas contains a lot of money — now it costs $ 13,659.8 per square centimeter.

Brett Gorvi, the co-owner of the Lévy Gorvy gallery, bought this rare "Suprematist composition" for $ 76 million (or 85.8 million with a commission). The result, which exceeded the preliminary estimate of $ 70 million, became a new record for the Russian artist.

84 million 687 thousand 500 dollars
Claude Monet, "Water Lilies in Bloom", approx. 1914−17
Christie’s New York, May 8, 2018

In recent years, Asian connoisseurs were delighted with Claude Monet, and the provenance "from the David Rockefeller collection" added to the attractiveness of a landscape of a series of water lilies. One of the buyers from this region made a high enough bid to set a new record for the artist. Despite the fact that "Water Lilies in Blossom" received a preliminary estimate of $ 50 million, an anonymous collector offered one and a half times more and became the owner of the canvas.
Claude Monet. Nymphéas en fleur
Nymphéas en fleur
1917, 160.3×180 cm
80 million 750 thousand dollars
Henri Matisse, "Lying Odalisk with Magnolias", 1923
Christie’s New York, May 8, 2018

This work by Henri Matisse from the Rockefeller collection also set a record for the artist — and was also bought on behalf of the bidder by phone. The last bid of 71.5 million dollars exceeded the preliminary estimate by half a million, and the canvas went to Asia.
Henri Matisse (1869−1954)
Odalisque couchée aux magnolias

71 million 187 thousand 500 dollars
Constantin Brancusi, "Young Woman (Portrait of Nancy Cunard)", 1932
Christie’s New York, May 15, 2018

This stylized portrait of the shipping business heiress and muse Nancy Cunard was tentatively valued at $ 70 million. The statuette was sold for an amount below the estimate, for $ 63 million, to the bidder by phone. Nevertheless, the work set a record for the work of Constantin Brancusi, bypassing the Sleeping Muse (1913), which was sold for 57.3 million dollars in May 2017.

Left: At the Christie’s pre-auction show. (Left: sculpture of Brancuzi, right: Malevich’s painting) / Photo: christies.com

69 million 435 thousand. 900 dollars
Pablo Picasso, "A Woman in a Beret and Plaid Dress (Maria-Teresa Walter)", 1937
Sotheby`s London, February 28, 2018

In late February, the British firm Gurr Johns in two days bought 13 works by Pablo Picasso for £ 112 million ($ 155.2 million). Much of this amount was spent on the portrait of Maria Theresa Walter, the muse of the artist. His preliminary estimate was 32 million pounds, but the hammer fell at around 44 million, and additional fees brought this figure to 49.8 million pounds.
68 million 937 thousand 504 dollars
Willem de Kooning, Woman as a Landscape, approx. 1954−55
Christie’s New York, November 13, 2018

Christie’s set a new record for Willem de Kooning, when an anonymous collector on the phone bought "Woman as Landscape" for $ 69 million (pre-sale estimate — at $60−90 million). But this record did not stand near with the price of 300 million, for his "Interchange" that was sold in a closed transaction (1955).


Willem de Kuning. Woman as Landscape
Woman as Landscape
1955, 166.3×125.4 cm
Based on materials from Artnet, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Artsy and others
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