real paintings by blue-chip artists remain the super-stars of the art market, says Artprice

PARIS, May 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Art Market seemed to have forgotten its past and all of its reference points after the online sale of Beeple’s NFT Everydays (which sold for $69 million at the beginning of March). But the major New York spring sales showed that blue-chip artists (Picasso, Basquiat, Monet, Warhol, etc.) remain the real pillars of the international art market. Artprice reminds us that the fundamental principles underpinning the price levels of artists and artworks are still very much alive and relevant in 2021.


Auction price evolution of two paintings, one by Picasso the other by Basquiat
Auction price evolution of two paintings, one by Picasso the other by Basquiat


thierry Ehrmann, President and Founder of and of its Artprice department: "The Art Market’s switch to digital – which substantially accelerated a little over a year ago – has not shaken the foundations on which this market has been developing for three decades. Its stable and rational structure quickly re-emerged as soon as Western countries began to emerge from the health crisis."

Over $1 billion in three days

Whereas London’s sales were postponed by several weeks and were partly weakened by the implementation of Brexit, New York’s prestige sales were the first major art market rendezvous for over a year. This unique concentration of Modern, Post-War and Contemporary masterpieces, all offered in just a couple of days, rapidly reassured the market and its followers. The first lot hammered by Christie’s on 11 May, Night Vision by Alex da Corte (1980), doubled its estimate to reach $187,500.

Artprice has published an analysis of the results of this absolutely crucial week, which saw the first auction result above $100 million in two years:

Demand is both strong and selective

Christie’s and Sotheby’s both offered – just two days apart – canvases by Gerhard Richter, both titled Abstraktes Bild and both dated 1992, and almost of the same dimensions. The first sold for just under $7 million (below Christie’s $9-12 million estimate) while the second, from the collection of Mrs. John L. Marion, reached $23.3 million at Sotheby’s.

The substantial price differential between these two works, which have very similar technical characteristics, is extremely reassuring to Artprice, which sees it as an indication that demand is strong but attentive to the intrinsic quality of each piece as well as to their origin; a demand that is capable of adjusting its intensity and defying estimates.

Top 10 price hikes in New York (11-14 May 2021)
Salman Toor, The Arrival (2019): $867,000 (est. $60,000$80,000)
Lynda Benglis, Knot / Hat B (1993):  $201,600 (est. $15,000$25,000)
Hernan Bas, Loving Nobly (2004): $94,500: (est. $9,000$12,000)
James Ensor, Untitled (1888): $143,750 (est. $15,000$20,000)     
Rashid Johnson, Anxious Red Painting (2020): $1,950,000 (est. $200,000$300,000)
Frank Stella, Polar Co-Ordinates III (1980): $47,880 ( est. $6,000$8,000)
Alexander Calder, Le Buveur d’Eau (1967): $378,000 (est. $ 50,000$70,000)
Dana Schutz, The Fishermen (2021): $2,970,000 (est. $400,000$600,000)
David Hockney, Home-Made Prints (1986): $963,800 (est. $150,000$200,000)
Kees Van Dongen, Robert de Saint-Loup (1946-47): $143,750 (est. $20,000$30,000)

After Beeple’s ‘freak wave’ in March, the ranking of the best performing artists at auction in 2021 has returned to its usual population of great masters. Beeple has now left the top 5 in favor of Claude Monet and Andy Warhol.

Top 10 artists by auction turnover (1 January 202115 May 2021)
1. Pablo Picasso$252,155,000
2. Jean-Michel Basquiat$217,287,000
3. Claude Monet$129,984,000
4. Andy Warhol$108,030,000
5. Sandro Botticelli – $93,538,000
6. Banksy – $83,540,000
7. Beeple – $69,346,000
8. Vincent Van Gogh – $63,253,000
9. Zao Wou-Ki$57,529,000
10. Roy Lichtenstein$55,613,000



Copyright 1987-2021 thierry Ehrmann

About Artmarket: is listed on Eurolist by Euronext Paris, SRD long only and Euroclear: 7478 – Bloomberg: PRC – Reuters: ARTF.

Discover Artmarket and its Artprice department on video:

Artmarket and its Artprice department was founded in 1997 by its CEO, thierry Ehrmann. Artmarket and its Artprice department is controlled by Groupe Serveur, created in 1987.

See certified biography in Who’s who ©:

Artmarket is a global player in the Art Market with, among other structures, its Artprice department, world leader in the accumulation, management and exploitation of historical and current art market information in databanks containing over 30 million indices and auction results, covering more than 770,000 artists.

Artprice Images® allows unlimited access to the largest Art Market image bank in the world: no less than 180 million digital images of photographs or engraved reproductions of artworks from 1700 to the present day, commented by our art historians.

Artmarket with its Artprice department accumulates data on a permanent basis from 6300 Auction Houses and produces key Art Market information for the main press and media agencies (7,200 publications). Its 4.5 million ‘members log in’ users have access to ads posted by other members, a network that today represents the leading Global Standardized Marketplace® to buy and sell artworks at a fixed or bid price (auctions regulated by paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article L 321.3 of France’s Commercial Code).

Artmarket with its Artprice department, has been awarded the State label "Innovative Company" by the Public Investment Bank (BPI) (for the second time in November 2018 for a new period of 3 years) which is supporting the company in its project to consolidate its position as a global player in the market art.

Artprice by Artmarket’s 2020 Global Art Market Report published in March 2021:

Index of press releases posted by Artmarket with its Artprice department:

Follow all the Art Market news in real time with Artmarket and its Artprice department on Facebook and Twitter: (over 5 million followers)

Discover the alchemy and universe of Artmarket and its artprice department headquartered at the famous Organe Contemporary Art Museum "The Abode of Chaos" (dixit The New York Times):

L’Obs – The Museum of the Future:
(4.5 million followers)

Monet’s Le Bassin aux nymphéas (1917-19) fetched $70.4 million at Sotheby’s on 12 May 2021
Monet’s Le Bassin aux nymphéas (1917-19) fetched $70.4 million at Sotheby’s on 12 May 2021




Contact and its Artprice department – Contact: Thierry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.