in

Top Auction Highlights of 2019: Paintings

As we turn a new leaf and close out the year – and the decade – it’s the perfect time for reflection. And who doesn’t love a highlight reel? We’re going through 2019’s top Paintings sold by renowned auction houses like Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and ArtCurial to see what incredible pieces changed hands last year.

In Part 2 of this series, we explore antique furniture, jewelry, musical instruments, sculptures, cars and more, that made headlines in 2019.

About the Auction Houses

Sotheby’s has long been at the top of the art world as an auction house that deals with only the best of the best.

Some of the top lots sold at Sotheby’s in 2019 included not only pieces that set new records for the artists who created them but also the timeless classics we know and love – and that continues to earn huge dividends.

Christie’s is another massive art auction house that always sells incredible pieces. They commenced the year with the George Michael collection where the most notable sale was Commissioned Portrait Untitled (George) by Michael Craig-Martin which went for £170,000 and contributed to the collection’s total of over £11 million.

Artcurial is a French auction house that has positioned itself as one of the major international art auction for buyers and sellers. Their market share has gone up an incredible 4% since 2018, now totaling at around €203.1 million.

In 2019, Artcurial had 11 lots sell for over €1 million apiece with 34 record auction prices and 82 pre-emptions or museum acquisitions.

 


RECOMMENDED ARTICLE:

Sotheby’s and Christie’s: A Comparison of the Biggest Auction Houses


 

Top 2019 Paintings in the Contemporary Art Category

In 2019, Sotheby’s saw Claude Monet break another record for his piece called Mueles from 1890 along with fellow heavyweights Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, and Willem de Kooning who also made headlines.

Francis Bacon’s Study for a head from 1952 sold well over its estimate in May 2019, going over by $20,000,000. Mark Rothko’s Untitled came in at a close second selling for $50,095,250 on the same day.

Study for a head, Francis Bacon, 1952

Sold for $50,380,000 at Sotheby’s

Top Auction Highlights of 2019: Paintings
  • Save
 Study for a head, Francis Bacon, 1952. Estimate: $20-30million

Untitled, Mark Rothko, 1960

Sold for $50,095,250 at Sotheby’s

Untitled, Mark Rothko, 1960. Estimate: $30-50million
  • Save
Untitled, Mark Rothko, 1960. Estimate: $30-50million

Untitled XXII, Willem de Kooning 1977

Sold for $30,105,800 at Sotheby’s

Untitled XXII, Willem de Kooning, 1977. Estimate: $25-35million
  • Save
Untitled XXII, Willem de Kooning, 1977. Estimate: $25-35million

The Kaws Album, Kaws

Sold for $14,784,505 at Sotheby’s

The Kaws Album, Kaws, signed 05, via Sotheby’s Hong Kong. Estimate: ~US$750,000-1,000,000
  • Save
The Kaws Album, Kaws, signed 05, via Sotheby’s Hong Kong. Estimate: ~US$750,000-1,000,000

Chinese artist Chu Teh-Chun also made waves in contemporary art at Artcurial with Winter Synthesis which sold for $5,799,610 and in the Urban Art Department, Vienna by Invader broke world records for this mosaic artwork when it sold for $398,823.

 


RECOMMENDED ARTICLE:

Top 5 Auction Houses in the World


 

Winter Synthesis, Chu The-Chun c. 1988

Sold for $5,799,610 at Artcurial

Winter Synthesis, Chu Teh-Chun, c. 1988. Estimate: 1,000,000 - 1,500,000
  • Save
Winter Synthesis, Chu Teh-Chun, c. 1988. Estimate: 1,000,000 – 1,500,000

Vienna, Invader, 2008

Sold for $398,823 at Artcurial

Vienna, Invader, 2008. Estimate: 250,000 - 350,000 €
  • Save
Vienna, Invader, 2008. Estimate: 250,000 – 350,000 €

Top 2019 Paintings in the Impressionist And Modern Art Category

The Impressionist and Modern Art Department at Sotheby’s is the category where we saw Monet’s Mueles break records as it sold for $110,747,000 which vastly outsold all other pieces up for auction in 2019. And it wasn’t the only Monet that made big bucks. Le Palais Ducal sold for £27,534,000.

Mueles, Claude Monet, 1890

Sold for $110,747,000 at Sotheby’s

Mueles, Claude Monet, 1890. Sold for $110,747,000. A new artist record.
  • Save
Mueles, Claude Monet, 1890. Sold for $110,747,000. A new artist record

But there were some other top sellers who made headlines at Sotheby’s this year. For example, Pablo Picasso’s Femme au chien sold for $54,936,000 in May 2019.

French artists Paul Signac and Paul Cezanne, who are no strangers to the art world, did well with Le Port au soleil couchant which sold for £19,501,250 and Bouilloire et fruits which sold for $59,295,00 respectively at Christie’s auctions.

Bouilloire et fruits, Paul Cezanne, 1888-90

Sold for $59,295,000 at Christie’s

Bouilloire et fruits, Paul Cezanne, 1888-90. Sold for $59,295,000.
  • Save
Bouilloire et fruits, Paul Cezanne, 1888-90. Sold for $59,295,000

Just a few months ago, in December 2019, the Department of 20th- and 21st-Century Art at Artcurial recorded a 40% increase after the sale of a rare Tahitian Paul GauguinpPaintings called Te Bourao which claimed the highest price of the year in France for Impressionist and Modern Art, selling for €9.5 million or $10,546,900.

 


RECOMMENDED ARTICLE:

Nude Photographs in Auction


Te Bourao, Paul Gauguin, 1897-98

Sold for $10,546,900 at Artcurial

Te Bourao, Paul Gauguin, 1897-98, via Wikimedia. Estimate: 5,000,000-7,000,000 €
  • Save
Te Bourao, Paul Gauguin, 1897-98, via Wikimedia. Estimate: 5,000,000-7,000,000 €

Top 2019 Paintings in the Old Masters and Fine Arts Category

While the pieces in the Old Masters category at Sotheby’s didn’t sell for quite as much as a Monet or a Bacon, they’re still worth mentioning.

Joseph Mallord William Turner tops the Sotheby’s list with Landscape with Walton Bridges that sold for £8,171,000. Other paintings that sold for millions include Going to market, early morning by Thomas Gainsborough, Nude study of a young man with raised arms by Peter Paul Rubens, and A girl with a tambourine by Jusepe de Ribera.

Landscape with Walton Bridges, Joseph Mallord William Turner, c.1840

Sold for £8,171,000 (US$10,270,947) at Sotheby’s

Landscape with Walton Bridges, Joseph Mallord William Turner, c.1840. Estimate: $4,000,000-6,000,000
  • Save
Landscape with Walton Bridges, Joseph Mallord William Turner, c.1840. Estimate: $4,000,000-6,000,000

Two Chinese artists made the list in Fine Arts at Christie’s, first with Triptyque by Zao Wou-Ki which went for HK$178 million and White Peacock and Red Persimmon by Zhao Shao’ang, selling for HK$8,045,000. The first is an homage to Matisse and Monet while the second is of the traditional Chinese bird and flower genre.

White Peacock and Red Persimmon, Zhao Shao’ang

Sold for HK$8,045,000 ($1,035,166) at Christie’s

White Peacock and Red Persimmon, Zhao Shao’ang, 1905-1988. Estimate: HKD 3,000,000 - 5,000,000
  • Save
White Peacock and Red Persimmon, Zhao Shao’ang, 1905-1988. Estimate: HKD 3,000,000 – 5,000,000

The Fine Arts Department at Artcurial also had a good year after doubling its 2018 results with the sale of Lucretia by Artemisia Gentileschi, breaking the world record when it sold for $5,799,610..

 


RECOMMENDED ARTICLE:

10 Most Expensive Artworks Sold at Auction


Lucretia, Artemisia Gentileschi, 1630-40

Sold for $5,799,610 at Artcurial

Lucretia, Artemisia Gentileschi, c. 1630-40. Estimate: 600,000 - 800,000 €. A new artist record.
  • Save
Lucretia, Artemisia Gentileschi, c. 1630-40. Estimate: 600,000 – 800,000 €. A new artist record

Record-Breaking Art Sales of 2019

One of the most exciting parts about a year-end wrap-up is talking about all the artists who broke their own records last year.

One of the most talked-about broken records was Banksy’s Devolved Parliament that sold for £9,879,500 in a Sotheby’s auction and caused quite a stir in the media. In typical Banksy fashion, his work tends to hold a lot of shock value and has been bringing in higher and higher price tags.

Devolved Parliament, Banksy 2009

Sold for £9,879,500 (US$12,142,893) at Sotheby’s

Devolved Parliament, Banksy, 2009. Estimate: 1,500,000 - 2,000,000 GBP
  • Save
Devolved Parliament, Banksy, 2009. Estimate: 1,500,000 – 2,000,000 GBP

 


RECOMMENDED ARTICLE:

10 Most Expensive Artworks Sold at Auction


Tamara de Lempicka’s La tunique rose, Norman Lewis’ Ritual, Monet’s Mueles (as previously mentioned), Yoshimoto Nara’s Knife Behind Back, and Charles White’s Ye shall inherit the earth all also broke records for the artists.

Other Top Sales in 2019 by Result

Sotheby’s

Femme au Chien

Pablo Picasso

$54,936,000

Sotheby’s

Le Palais Ducal

Claude Monet

$36,201,703*

Sotheby’s

Blue Over Red

Mark Rothko

$26,461,000

Christie’s

Parc des Princes

Nicolas de Stael

$25,995,900*

Sotheby’s

Knife Behind Back

Yoshimoto Nara

$25,184,500*

Sotheby’s

PH-399

Clyfford Still

$24,269,900

Sotheby’s

Vignette 19

Kerry James Marshall

$18,488,000

Sotheby’s

Study for Portrait

Francis Bacon

$14,501,500

Sotheby’s

Untitled

Christopher Wool

$14,000,000

Sotheby’s

La tunique rose

Tamara de Lempicka

$13,362,500

Sotheby’s

Going to Market, Early Morning

Thomas Gainsborough

$10,348,464*

Sotheby’s

Nude study of a young man with raised arms

Peter Paul Rubens

$8,202,000

Sotheby’s

A girl with a tambourine (the sense of hearing)

Jusepe de Ribera

$7,465,296*

*Indicates approximate result, amount converted to USD on the day of the sale.

Overall, there were some beautiful paintings sold at auction in 2019, some old classics and others, new arrivals to the top spots. Be sure to check out Part 2 of our round-up of 2019 art highlights as we explore other forms of art and collectibles that made waves last year.

Howard Carter examining the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun, 1925
  • Save

Howard Carter: Discoverer of the Tomb of Tutankhamun

  • Save

Top Auction Highlights of 2019: Art and Collectibles