Art and photography market - 2013 auction review

Aside from a headline-grabbing art auction world record, 2013 was also the year that Chinese collectors began to exert a major influence on the international art market, with an increasing number of high profile sales taking place in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Contemporary art sales continue to lead the market, although strong results were achieved in auctions featuring work by the impressionists and the old masters. Post-war and contemporary art at New York's major evening sales in November realised a 14% compound annual return (CAR), while impressionist and modern pieces offered an 8.1% CAR.

Top art sale of 2013

Bacon Freud triptych
Francis Bacon's triptych is the most valuable artwork ever sold at auction

  • A new world record for a piece of art at auction was set this November when Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud achieved a phenomenal $142.4m in New York - an increase of 18% on the previous record, held by Edvard Munch's The Scream.

2013's important art sales

  • Jackson Pollock's Number 19 broke the artist's record in May, realising $58.4m - a 17.3% pa increase on its previous sale in 1993, when it achieved $2.4m.
  • Andy Warhol's iconic Coca-Cola made $57.2m in November.
  • Andy Warhol's Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) set a new record for the artist when it made $105.4m in November, cementing his reputation for consistent results.
Jeff Koons Balloon Dog Christie's
Jeff Koons is now the world's most valuable living artist

  • Jeff Koons became the most valuable living artist when his Balloon Dog sculpture sold for $58m in November.
  • El Greco's St Dominic was the top seller among the old masters this year, realising $13.9m in July - outperforming the artist's previous record by 139%.

It was a breakout year for…

Rockwell Saying Grace Sotheby's
Norman Rockwell's Saying Grace more than doubled its estimate

  • Norman Rockwell's Saying Grace came to auction with a $20m high estimate, a figure that it more than doubled - ultimately selling for $46m. This year could represent something of a turning point for Rockwell as his price point looks set to increase significantly in future sales.  

It was a year to forget for…

  • Sotheby's was fooled into selling a stolen artwork by Jan Schoonhoven in June after thieves simply turned a painting 90 degrees and scratched out its reference number, replacing R69-32 with R69-39. It sold for £182,500 ($298,296), although the police were swiftly notified once the similarity was realised.

One you may have missed…


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