Art Market: 2018’s Main Events And 2019’s Expectations

Art Market: 2018’s Main Events And 2019’s Expectations

Author: Francesca Iani

2018’s Main Happenings

The art market keeps growing: although this year the record price of $ 450,3 millions for the sale of the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci has not been surpassed, reports suggest a healthy market and constantly-boosting trends. Here we list the top 5 lots that reached outstanding numbers in 2018.

1.   David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)

During one of Christie’s auctions last November in New York, one of the most iconic artworks by the English artist David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), of 1972, reached in less than 10 minutes the record price of $ 90,3 millions. In this way, the artist stole the title of most expensive living artist to Jeff Koons.

 2.   Zao Wou-Ki, Juin-Octobre 1985

The second record was reached, somewhat unexpectedly, the Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki with the artwork Juin-Octobre 1985, sold by Sotheby’s in September in Hong Kong for 65 million dollars. The buyers knew that the work would have been exhibited at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris a few days after the auction, in occasion of an exceptional retrospective dedicated to the Chinese artist.

 3.   Amedeo Modigliani, Nu couché (Sur Le Côté Gauche)

Realized in 1917 for the merchant and collector Zborowski, Modigliani’s nude Nu couché (Sur Le Côté Gauche) was sold for $ 157 millions, the highest price ever reached by a painting in Sotheby’s history. Modigliani became the first artist to overcome twice the threshold of $ 150 millions in auctions, and conquered the fourth position among the most expensive artists of history, after Leonardo and Picasso.


 4.   Pablo Picasso, Fillette à la corbeille fleurie

Among the first three works of the “Pink period” of Picasso, chosen by Leo Stein at the Galerie du Vingtième Siècle of Clovis Sagot, belonged to Gertrude Stein, and part of the Rockefeller collection: with such a background the artwork by Picasso Fillette à la corbeille fleurie reached the record price of $ 115.000.000 at Christie’s auction in May.


 5.   Kasimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition

Suprematist Composition, one of the most revolutionary artworks in the history of art, updated the auction record of the Russian artist Kasimir Malevich. Exhibited in 1916 at the Dobychina Art Bureau in St. Petersburg, the painting marked the affirmation of abstractionism and of a radically new way to painting.

2019’s Expectations

We are awaiting a prosperous 2019 for the art market. In 2019, Christie’s will present David Hockney’s artwork Henry Geldzahler and Christopher from the celebrated series Double Portraits – the giant canvases realized by the English painter in 1968 – estimated 30 million dollars.

2019 will be Vincent van Gogh’s year: Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche, dated 1885-1886, will be included in Christie’s auction of 27 February. The unofficial estimate should be around £ 8-10 millions.

Great importance will also be attributed to Afro-American art. The yearly report of Artprice on the Contemporary art market expresses a great interest of institutions and collectors in Afro-American artists, and there is a great probability that this trend will strengthen in 2019.