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2011 top results  []

Every fortnight Artprice posts a new or updated ranking in its Alternate-Friday Top Series. The theme of today's TOP article is the Top 10 global auction results in 2011.

Artprice is pursuing its annual round-up series with the Top 10 global auction results for 2011, the best year the global art market has ever experienced!
In first place, QI Baishi, with Eagle Standing on Pine Tree; Four-Character Couplet in Seal Script that fetched $57m, the best result of the year, on 22 May 2011.

Top 10 : best global auction results in 2011

Rank Artist Hammer Price Artwork Sale
1 QI Baishi $57202000 Eagle Standing on Pine Tree; Four-Character Couplet… 05/22/2011 (China Guardian Auctions Co.)
2 WANG Meng $55300000 Zhi Chuan moving to Mountain 06/04/2011 (Poly International Auction Co.)
3 Clyfford E. STILL $55000000 "1949-A-No . 1" (1949) 11/09/2011 (Sotheby's NY)
4 Roy LICHTENSTEIN $38500000 I Can See the Whole Room!...and There's Nobody in it! 11/08/2011 (Christie's NY)
5 Francesco GUARDI $38256120 Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North… 07/06/2011 (Sotheby's London)
6 XU Beihong $36679200 Cultivation on the peaceful land (1951) 12/05/2011 (Poly International Auction Co.)
7 Pablo PICASSO $36274500 La lecture (1932) 02/08/2011 (Sotheby's London)
8 Gustav KLIMT $36000000 Litzlberg Am Attersee (c.1914/15) 11/02/2011 (Sotheby's NY)
9 Egon SCHIELE $35681800 Häuser mit bunter wäsche (Vordatdt II) 06/22/2011 (Sotheby's London)
10 Andy WARHOL $34250000 Self-Portrait (1963-1964) 05/11/2011 (Christie's NY)

The modern masters clearly dominated 2011…
Although the year’s highest bid for the Qi Baishi work is indeed lower than the best bid of the previous year ($95m for Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust on 4 May 2010 at Christie’s New York) it is still a spectacular sum. Indeed, Beijing’s China Guardian was the setting for the record sale of Qi Baishi’s ink on paper work, and it gave Qi Baishi the title of most expensive Chinese artist in the world in 2011.

In 2011, 3 out of the 10 best auctions were hammered in China. In effect WANG Meng is on the heels of Qi Baishiwith with a record result of $55.3m for an ink on paper (Zhi Chuan moving to Mountain) auctioned on 4 June 2011 at Poly International. This Chinese artist of the Yuan dynasty has now become the second most expensive old master of the market, dethroning the famous Head of a Muse by RAPHAEL, on the second step of the podium since 8 December 2009 ($42.7m at Christie’s, London).

Also at Poly international, on 5 of December 2011, XU Beihong signed a new record when his Cultivation on the peaceful land fetched $36.6m beating his previous record of $23m (10 December 2010 at Beijing Hanhai Art Auction for Landscape and figure). With the new record under his belt and no less than 40 million-plus results to his name in 2011 alone, Xu Beihong climbed to fifth place in the 2011 global ranking of artists by auction revenue with a total of $212.8m.

The American artist Clyfford E. STILL set a new personal auction record in 2011 when his 1949-A-No. 1 fetched $55m ($15m above its high estimate)! Extremely rare at auction (only 16 paintings over the last 16 years), four works by the artist were offered for sale at the 9 November sale organised by Sotheby’s New York! These four works alone generated $101.5m, giving Clifford Still tenth place in the 2011 Top 10 global ranking of artists by auction revenue.

Gustav KLIMT is in 8th place with a result of $36m for Litzlberg am Attersee (2 November 2011 at Sotheby’s New York). Apart from its sombre past (the piece was stolen in 1938 after Austria’s annexation to Germany, and returned in the spring of 2011 by the Salzburg Museum of Modern Art to Georges Jorisch), lanscapes of Klimt of this type are highly appreciated by collectors (the last four similar works all fetched between $28m and $39m).

The most frequent winner of the annual ranking, Pablo PICASSO, is relegated to 7th place with La Lecture, a small painting (65.5 x 51cm) representing his young mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter. The highly publicised work fetched £22.5m ($36.2m) on 8 February at Sotheby’s in London. Picasso is now “off the podium” (4th place) of the Global Top 10 artists by annual auction revenue with a total of “just” $311.5m in 2011, behind Qi Baishi, ZHANG Daqian, and Andy Warhol (on the podium for the first time).

Egon SCHIELE set a new record this year with Häuser mit bunter wäsche (Vordatdt II) (Houses with laundry Suburb II) which fetched £22m ($35.6m), within its pre-sale estimated range. Painted in 1914, this work was among the rare urban landscapes by the Austrian artist still in private hands. Schiele had not signed an auction result above £10m since November 2006 (Einzelne Häuser/Monk I, fetched $20m on 8 November 2006 at Christie’s New York). Only three Schiele urban landscapes have been offered at auction in the last ten years (2001-2011).

Second Old Master in this ranking is Francesco GUARDI in 5th place with a bid of $38.5m for his superb Venetian view Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North. This result pushed Jacopo da Carucci PONTORMO out of third place in the all-time Old Masters auction results ranking ($35.2m, Portrait of Duke Cosimo I de'Medici, 31 May 1989, Christie’s New York).

Two post-war artists have found their way into the Top 10, which is dominated by seven Modern artists!
On 2011 auction prices went up with two American pop artists : with Roy LICHTENSTEIN I Can See the Whole Room!...and There's Nobody in it! fetched $38.5m in 2011, setting a new record for the American Pop artist after his Ohhh...Alright... sold for $38m on 10 November 2010 at Christie's. This result gives Roy Lichtenstein 4th place in this week’s Top 10, substantially ahead of Andy Warhol!

In effect, we find Andy WARHOL in last position with his 4-panel Self-Portrait that fetched $34.2m at Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art sale in New York on 11 May 2011. Sotheby’s, who had assigned a pre-sale estimate of $20m - $30m to this self-portrait from the Barron family collection, generated the Pop artist’s 4th best-ever auction result with this work.

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