The Top 10 Art Sales of 2013

As you may know, 2013 was a big year for the art market.

More than likely you were caught up in the wave of coverage spanning Francis Bacon's expensive painting of Lucian Freud, or perhaps you remember the sale of Koons's 'Balloon Dog (Orange)' to newsprint magnate Peter Brant for an extortionate amount of cash.

Bloomberg recently printed the 'best of' list for auction sales in 2013 and it's a stunner, with the lowest amount at the $46 million mark. Experts are worried about a bubble, and as Kathryn Tully points out, these ten sales accounted for 669 million or 5% of total auction sales in 2013.

 “These prices are being driven by excess cash,” said Anders Petterson, the founder of ArtTactic, to The New York Times. “But if prices rise too much, this clique could lose interest and move on to something else, and if they lose interest, a lot of other people would lose interest as well.”

The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) has released its annual findings on the art market, portraying valuations that magnify the cause for concern. The total value of transactions for 2013 was close to the highest amount ever recorded, and while there was also an increase in market transactions, the two do not correlate

Clare McAndrew, the founder of Arts Economics that carried out this study, summarised that this reveals a top-heavy market: "A significant part of the uplift of the market was due to higher priced works, rather than simply more works sold."

Here's the list of the most expensive lots sold at auction in 2013, courtesy of artnet:

  1. $142.4 million: Francis Bacon 'Three Studies of Lucian Freud
    Christie's, New York, November 2013
  2.  $105.4 million: Andy Warhol 'Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)'
    Sotheby's, New York, November 2013
  3. $58.4 million: Jeff Koons 'Balloon Dog (Orange)'
    Christie's, New York, November 2013
  4. $58.3 million: Jackson Pollock 'Number 19'
    Christie's, New York, May 2013
  5. $57.2 million: Andy Warhol 'Coca-Cola (3)'
    Christie's, New York, November 2013
  6. $56.1 million: Roy Lichtenstein 'Woman with Flowered Hat'
    Christie's, New York, May 2013
  7. $50 million: Alberto Giacometti 'Grande tête mince (Grande tête de Diego)'
    Sotheby's, New York, November 2013
  8. $48.8 million: Jean Michael Basquiat 'Dustheads'
    Christie's, New York, May 2013
  9. $46 million: Mark Rothko 'No. 11 (Untitled)'
    Christie's, New York, November 2013
  10. $46 million: Norman Rockwell 'Saying Grace'
    Sotheby's, New York, December 2013