10 Famous Art Auctions That Made Headlines

famous Art Auctions

“A Glimpse into Iconic Art Auctions: 10 Sales That Shaped Art History”

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the “10 Famous Art Auctions That Made Headlines“. We’ll learn about the world of art auctions, their different types, how to take part in one, and even how to figure out how much a coveted piece of art is worth. So, buckle up, because we’re about to go on an exciting trip through the world of art auctions.

What is an Art Auction?

A public sale where works of art are sold to the highest bidder is called an art auction. It’s a way to buy and sell art where people who want to buy it place bids on it and the person with the highest bid at the end of the auction gets it. Art auctions can happen in real-world auction houses, art galleries, or on the internet.

Types of Art Auctions

There are a lot of different kinds of art auctions, and each has its own rules and format. Here are some of the most common kinds of art auctions:

  • English Auction: In the most common auction, bidders compete by raising their bids. The auctioneer starts low and raises the price until no one bids. The auction winner is the highest bidder.
  • Dutch Auction: The auctioneer starts with a high price and lowers it until a bidder accepts. The first bidder to accept the price wins the auction.
  • Sealed-bid Auction: Bids are submitted in writing to the auctioneer in a sealed-bid auction. The highest bidder wins after the auctioneer opens bids.
  • Online auctions: Bidders can participate from home. Real-time or absentee bids are accepted.
  • Charity Auction: Auctions raise money for charities. Charity auctions raise funds by charging bidders a premium.

How to participate in an art auction

Being a part of an art auction can be exciting, but it can also be scary, especially if you’re new to the art world. To participate in an art auction, you will need to:

  1. Choosing an auction house: Choose a reputable art auction house with a good track record from the many available worldwide.
  2. Research desired artworks: Research the artist, iconic artworks, and market value before bidding on any piece.
  3. Prepare a budget: Before bidding, set a budget. Use this to avoid overspending.
  4. Register for auction: Most auction houses require pre-registration. This usually requires identification and financial information.
  5. Attend the auction preview: The auction preview lets you see the artwork and ask questions of the auction hosts.

10 Famous Art Auctions Around the World

Art auctions have a unique way of getting people’s attention around the world. Record-breaking sales and famous pieces often make the news. Here are ten famous art auctions that changed the art world forever:

1. Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi

Famous Art Auctions

This painting of Jesus Christ sold at Christie’s in New York City for an amazing $450.3 million at one of the most expensive famous art auctions ever.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi: Auction Highlights

Artist:Leonardo da Vinci
Auction House:Christie’s
Auction Date:November 15, 2017
Location:New York City, USA
Auction Type:Public Auction
Auction Format:Live Auction
Sale Price:$450.3 million USD

2. Andy Warhol’s Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)

Famous Art Auctions

This painting of a car crash sold at auction in New York City for $105.4 million. It was the most expensive painting ever sold at auction in the 20th century.

Andy Warhol’s Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster): Auction Highlights

Artist:Andy Warhol
Auction House:Sotheby’s or Christie’s (leading art auction houses)
Auction Date:November 13, 2013
Location:New York, USA
Auction Type:Contemporary Art Auction
Auction Format:Live Auction
Sale Price:Approximately $105 million

3. Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)

Famous Art Auctions

At the time, this painting of five Algerian women sold at Christie’s in New York City for $179.4 million, making it one of the most expensive paintings ever sold at auction in the 20th century.

Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O): Auction Highlights

Artist:Pablo Picasso
Auction House:Christie’s (prominent art auction house)
Auction Date:May 11, 2015
Location:New York City, USA
Auction Type:Evening Sale
Auction Format:Live Auction
Sale Price:approximately $179.4 million

4. Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud

Famous Art Auctions

This triptych of Lucian Freud’s most expensive paintings sold at Christie’s in New York City for $142.4 million. This makes it the most expensive triptych ever sold at auction.

Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud : Auction Highlights

Artist:Francis Bacon
Auction House:Christie’s
Auction Date:November 12, 2013
Location:New York, USA
Auction Type:Evening Auction
Auction Format:The auction was conducted in person and also allowed for remote bidding through telephone and online platforms.
Sale Price:Approximately $142.4 million

5. Edvard Munch’s The Scream

Famous Art Auctions

This painting of a figure screaming sold at Sotheby’s in New York City for $119.9 million, making it the most expensive 19th-century painting ever sold at auction.

Edvard Munch’s The Scream: Auction Highlights

Artist:Edvard Munch
Auction House:Sotheby’s
Auction Date:May 2, 2012
Location:New York, United States
Auction Type:Evening Sale
Auction Format:Live Auction
Sale Price:Approximately $119.9 million

6. Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché

Famous Art Auctions

This painting of a naked woman lying down sold at Christie’s in New York City for $170,4 million. At the time, it was the most expensive painting ever sold at auction by a woman artist.

Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché: Auction Highlights

Artist:Amedeo Modigliani
Auction House:Christie’s
Auction Date:May 14, 2018
Location:New York, USA
Auction Type:Fine Art Auction
Auction Format:Live Auction
Sale Price:Approximately $157.2 million

7. Pablo Picasso’s Garçon à la pipe

Famous Art Auctions

At one of the famous art auctions, Sotheby’s in New York City, a painting of a young boy smoking a pipe sold for $104.2 million.

Pablo Picasso’s Garçon à la pipe: Auction Highlights

Artist:
Auction House:Sotheby’s or Christie’s
Auction Date:May 5, 2004
Location:New York City, USA
Auction Type:Contemporary Art Auction
Auction Format:Live Auction
Sale Price:$104.2 million

8. Qi Baishi’s Twelve Landscape Screens

Famous Art Auctions

At one of the most famous art auctions ever, Poly Auction in Beijing, this set of 12 landscape screens sold for $140.8 million. It was the most expensive Chinese painting ever sold at auction.

Qi Baishi’s Twelve Landscape Screens: Auction Highlights

Artist:Qi Baishi
Auction House:Christie
Auction Date:December 17, 2017
Location:Hong Kong
Auction Type:Fine Art Auction
Auction Format:Live Auction
Sale Price:Approximately HKD 931 million (around USD 119 million)

9. Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette

Famous Art Auctions

This is one of the most expensive paintings of a dance party at the Moulin de la Galette sold at Sotheby’s in New York City for $179.3 million, making it (at the time) the most expensive Impressionist painting ever sold at auction.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette: Auction Highlights

Artist:Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Auction House:Christie
Auction Date:May 17, 1990
Location:New York City, United States
Auction Type:Evening Sale
Auction Format:In-person, Live Bidding
Sale Price:Approximately $78.1 million

10. Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet

Famous Art Auctions

This painting of Vincent van Gogh’s doctor sold at Christie’s in New York City for $163.4 million. This makes it one of the most expensive painting ever sold at auction.

Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet: Auction Highlights

Artist:Vincent van Gogh
Auction House:Christie
Auction Date:May 15, 1990
Location:New York, USA
Auction Type:Evening Sale
Auction Format:Live Auction
Sale Price:Approximately $82.5 million

As we conclude our “Famous Art Auctions That Made Headlines,” we hope you’ve gained a better understanding of art auctions. Auctions celebrate human creativity, history, and passion, not just transactions. Art auctions offer a captivating tapestry of stories for collectors, art lovers, and those interested in art and commerce. So watch out for the next big art auction—you might see history!

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