The Campbell Soup connoisseur raked in $380.3 million in sales in 2012, according to figures compiled by Artnet for Bloomberg News. Warhol’s “Double Elvis” fetched a whopping $37 million, and his 1962 “Statue of Liberty” sold for an even more impressive $43.7 million at auction.
The pop artist beat out other high-selling artists like Pablo Picasso, last year’s most expensive artist Zhang Daqian, and the world’s biggest selling living artist, Gerhard Richter. According to Bloomberg, Warhol’s all-time auction sales skyrocketed to $2.9 billion, while Picasso remains the top seller overall — raking in around $5 billion in total sales.
The past year was a profitable one for post-war and contemporary artworks as a whole, with auctions at Sotheby’s, Christies and Phillips de Pury & Co. raising a record $1.1 billion in the month of November. Christie’s alone made $412.2 million in its sale of contemporary artists like Franz Kline, Jeff Koons, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Richard Diebenkorn.
“Contemporary art is where the dynamic energy is at auctions,” Jonathan P. Binstock, senior adviser in postwar and contemporary art at Citi Private Bank Art Advisory & Finance, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The market is selective and concentrated on works by certain artists. The instant recognizability of masterpieces by Warhol and Richter makes them well suited to performing well.”
The record-breaking rankings of Warhol, Picasso and Richter seem to indicate the continuing dominance of Western post-war art in the international market. Who will shake it up in 2013? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Scroll through the slideshow of the biggest art auction sales of 2012, including the year’s most expensive — Edvard Munch’s $119 million “The Scream.” For more on the art world’s exorbitant prices, check out our article on the art market bubble here.