Art news  •  The Art Market

2021’s Best Selling Artists at Auction

July 2020 – June 2021 marked an all time high for the Global Contemporary Art Market (in terms of business volume and transaction density). With this year’s $2.7 billion turnover hopefully marking the end of the stalling effects of Covid on the art sector, this market boom is partly in thanks to a continued digitalization of auction practices, making art more accessible than ever to international collectors, a topic that we at SINGULART believe is of great importance.

To understand the trends of the last year and to forecast those of 2022, we took a dive into Artprice’s Contemporary Art Market Report 2021 to discover which old-hands reappeared and which new-faces made a name for themselves (such as digital artist Beeple, whose NFT Everydays: The first 5000 Days fetched a staggering $69.3 million, launching him into the position of one of the top three highest earning living artists despite him being relatively unknown to the contemporary art market only a year ago).

Read on to discover which artists made in onto the 2021 Top 10 Best-Sellers list!

1. Pablo Picasso

Prolific and world renowned, Pablo Picasso‘s dynamic and engaging Cubist style has become a visual staple of the 20th and 21st centuries. It therefore comes as no surprise that his artworks accrued the highest amount at auction between July 2020 – June 2021. Collectively selling for $352.1 million, Picasso’s paintings remain high-performing auction lots and are ever in demand by collectors – a trend we predict will not be changing soon!

Although acquiring your own Picasso might be beyond the average collector, why not discover how this great artist has inspired the works of many of our SINGULART artists? Browse our Inspired by Picasso collection now!

2. Jean-Michel Basquiat

Demand for the neo-expressionist American artist Basquiat also remained high over the past year, with the artist accounting for 14% of global auction turn over, according to artprice. He has become one of the most profitable artists on the global Art Market, both in Asia and the West, with collectors having spent $385.8 million on 162 lots over the last 12 months. One piece, In This Case, sold for an immense $93.1 million. With his characteristic mixing of mediums and interrogation of polarizing topics such as wealth inequality, structural racism and segregation, Basquiat remains to this day a controversial artist, whose reach and position in the art world we predict will continue to grow.

Many of our SINGULART artists have been influenced by Basquiat’s characteristically free style. Browse our Inspired by Basquiat collection to find your next thought-provoking artwork today!

3. Andy Warhol

Warhol’s play on consumerist images and accessibility were not exactly in line with the artistic climate of his time. However, his pop-art prints and paintings are now-iconic works of art. At auction this year Warhol’s artworks raised $149.98 million (half the amount of Basquiat, yet not an inconsiderable amount!). That this 20th century artist is positioned in the top-three spots is in part thanks to the transformation of his works into digital formats (NFTs), requested by Christies and sanctioned by the Warhol Foundation.

At SINGULART Warhol remains one of the greatest inspirations amongst our artists. Discover how our artists have transitioned pop-art into the 21st century with our Inspired by Andy Warhol collection.

4. Claude Monet

Claude Monet‘s rapid brushstrokes, broken colors, focus on form and light over realistic representation were not only characteristics that would go on to define Impressionism, but are responsible for him becoming one of the most popular painters of all time. With some 2500 paintings, drawings and sketches, Monet’s artworks can be found in museums and private collections around the world. His painting Meules having sold for a record-breaking $110.7 million for an Impressionist painting in 2019, this year his works accounted for $131.6 million at auction.

Find an artwork that you love in the Neo-Impressionist style in our Inspired by Claude Monet collection.

5. Banksy

Banksy‘s real name is still unknown despite his international fame. Although originally a street-artist, he is now no stranger to art establishments and auction houses. Over the years, he has held exhibitions of live rats, disguised his own works in museums such as the Louvre and The Tate and, in 2018, destroyed one of his own works after it was sold at auction by hiding a shredder inside the frame of the painting. A boom in demand for Street Art among French and British collectors has seen Banksy reach new heights at auction this year. At auction his lots sold for an accumulative $123.3 million, including two canvases for over $10 million each, and his artwork Game Changer reached a new personal best price of $23.2 million.

Street-art is also a favorite genre amongst our SINGULART artists. Discover the works of the next Banksy in our Inspired by Banksy collection.

6. Zao Wou-Ki

French-Chinese artist Zao’s Wou-Ki‘s positive acclaim by his peers Joan Miro and Picasso, his integration into New York’s Pop-Art scene and his interest in abstract expressionism, which he blended with his own experimentations with India ink, used in traditional Chinese drawings, make him a unique and stylistically spell-binding painter. Since 1998 the record price for this artist at auction is $65,197,340 USD in 2018. This year he remains a hot artist at auction, having amassed $114.5 million.

Unearth the expressionistic paintings of our SINGULART artists in our Inspired by Zao Wou-Ki collection.

7. Gerard Richter

Contemporary German painter, photographer and sculptor Gerard Richter always makes for an interesting artist at auction and this year made $97.9 million at auction. His oeuvre is as complex as it is extensive, and today includes more than 3,000 works. Thanks to his technique of combining painting with elements of photography, he is regarded as one of the most influential contemporary painters. Although recognized for his signature blurring technique, over decades of work, Richter has dabbled with numerous styles, from landscape paintings to monochrome works, numerous abstract works to politically-motivated images and portraits.

See how our artists have drawn inspiration from Richter’s textural style with out Inspired by Richter collection.

8. Sandro Botticelli

Boticelli’s paintings are considered some of the most visually stunning and aesthetically pleasing in existence. This great master is also breathing new life into the masterpiece art market. Last year, his portrait titled Young Man Holding a Roundel reached a record-setting $92 million at Sotheby’s. This year, is paintings made $94.2 million, a figure set to continue in 2022 with his painting Man of Sorrows being put to auction in January 2022, where it is expected to achieve $40 million.

See how our contemporary artists have been inspired by this Great Master in our Inspired by Sandro Botticelli collection.

9. Yoshitomo Nara

Contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara‘s Pop-art and Japanese inspired portraits of sweet yet sinister children are his most sought-after compositions. Arguably the most famous living Japanese contemporary artist, Nara’s art has been acclaimed by both the East and West thanks to his ability to tap into an intergenerational and intercultural angst. Although he prefers to keep a low profile, Nara is a prolific artist, with his artworks reaching $85.9 million at auction this year. 

Like the style? Discover our Inspired by Yoshitomo Nara collection and find an artwork you love!

10. Zhang Daqian

Last on our list, having made $82.29 million this year at auction is Chang Ta-ch’ien (Zhang Daqian), one of the best-known and most prolific Chinese artists of the 20th century. Although he originally only practiced traditional Chinese painting styles and techniques, later in his career he began to experiment with ink pouring to create evocative abstract forms which he then painted over in detail. The result: a mystical and highly sought after combination of traditional Chinese brushwork and Abstract Expressionism, characterized by his use of deep and richly pigmented tones.

Dive into our Inspired by Zhang Daquian collection to find your own evocative artwork today!

Discover SINGULART’s Best-Selling Artists here!