Art and photography: 2016 auction review

There were few real blockbuster art sales in 2016.

Experts suggest that buyers are hanging on to their best works until currency markets stabilise in the wake of this year's upheavals.

That said sales remained strong, with some exceptional results achieved for lesser known works and artists.

Top art and photography sale 2016

Top of the list this year is the sale of Claude Monet's stunning Meule (1891).


Claude Monet painted a series of 25 Meule canvases

The work achieved $81.4m, becoming the most valuable Monet ever sold at auction.

It's one of a series of 25 works he painted in the 1890s. They were the precursor to his celebrated waterlilies series, which he began working on soon afterwards.

2016's most important art and photography sales


Peter Doig began his career in London in the 1980s

The sale of Peter Doig's The Architect's Home in the Ravine for $16.2m this year cemented his status as one of the most in-demand artists of his generation.

Zhang Daqian is one of China's most celebrated artists. His Peach Blossom Spring sold for a record $34.9m in April. That's 320.4% higher than its $8.3m estimate and a whopping 14,378% increase on the $241,067 it sold for in 1987.

Russian constructivist Alexander Rodchenko's Construction no. 95 was another of the year's biggest highlights. It sold for a record £3.6m ($4.5m) in November.

Munch's woozy, weird paintings have long had a strong following in the art world. A version of Girls on the Bridge achieved $54.5m this year.

The most unusual art and photography sale of 2016


The colours on the gloves match those on Three Studies of Lucian Freud

When painting Francis Bacon would wear a glove on his left hand to wipe the paint from his brush.

This year, two gloves that he wore while painting Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud (his most valuable work) were offered at Chiswick Auctions.

They realised an impressive £5,800 ($8,462). 

It was a breakout year for…


William Edmonson started his art career as a stonemason

Outsider artist William Edmonson's The Boxer was one of the surprise sales of the year.

It made $785,000 - up 214% on a $250,000 estimate.

Christie's, which handled the sale, explained: "Kept on a shelf protected by an overhang in Edmondson's Nashville, Tennessee yard, Boxer was by many accounts one of the artist's favorite works."

It was a year to forget for…

The leaders of gang of Chinese art thieves, who carried out a series of robberies in the UK in February and were jailed in March.

Most of the £57m ($79.7m) worth of artworks they took from museums and other institutions around the UK were returned to their rightful owners.

One you may have missed


Lawren Harris was a founding member of Canada's Group of Seven

Lawren Harris' Mountain Forms became the most valuable piece of Canadian art ever sold in December when it made $8.2m in a Toronto sale.

Not bad ey?

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