The 5 most expensive contemporary artworks

Nowadays auction sales are the most exhaustive indicators of how the art market is going, but contrary to what is commonly thought the economic value doesn’t depend on the artwork’s aesthetic quality

Generally speaking, from an economic point of view the artwork can be distinguished from all the other types of goods because it isn’t reproducible, in fact it’s the result of an idea and a particular creative process. The “quality/price” relationship usually isn’t proportionate, other and numerous facts that contribute to giving commercial value to the artwork, whose value is the result of a legitimization process, of commercial strategies, of promotion and valorization in art system circuits. The price depends on how much it’s desired, on the purchasing power and it’s often crucial who the owner was. Another significant factor is surely the time it was made; artworks created in an artist’s most creative period surely have a higher market value than others. Generally higher value is given to artworks that have been shown in important exhibitions, that are in art history books or that have been spoken about in articles in important magazines.

The 5 most expensive contemporary artworks - Tre studi di Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon “Three studies of Lucian Freud”, Francis Bacon
The triptych’s subject is Francis Bacon’s friend and fellow artist. It was painted in 1969 and it’s one of the only two triptychs dedicated to Freud. “Three studies of Lucian Freud” became the most important artwork to have been sold at auction so far. The deal was concluded at Christie’s in New York in November 2013, the artwork sold for about 90,000,000 pounds.
The 5 most expensive contemporary artworks - For the love of God, Damien Hirst “For the love of God”, Damien Hirst
The sculpture is made of a human skull coated in platinum and enriched with diamonds, the artwork cost 14,000,000 pounds just to make. “For the love of God” was exhibited for the first time at White Cube in London and the asking price was 50,000,000 pounds, the highest price ever asked for a single work for an author that is still living.
According to Art Knowledge News a sale was made for 100,000,000 dollars.
The 5 most expensive contemporary artworks - Painting No5, Jackson Pollock Painting No.5, Jackson Pollock
It’s a drip painting of 8x4 meters. It’s one of the many sales shrouded in mystery, mediated by Sotheby’s in November 2006 for 89,000,000 pounds. The New York Times stated that David Martinez bought the artwork, but through his legal studio he said to not be the owner.
The 5 most expensive contemporary artworks - Woman III, Willem de Kooning “Woman III”, Willem de Kooning
The painting was made in 1953 and it’s the only one of a series of six to be owned by a private collector. “Woman III” was sold by David Geffen to the millionaire Steven Cohen for 87,400,000 just a few days after the Painting N.5 by Pollock transfer.
The 5 most expensive contemporary artworks - Silver Car Crash, Andy Warhol “Silver Car Crash”, Andy Warhol
The artwork from 1963 is part of a group of about seventy artworks that take shape from car accidents, suicides, electric chairs; Warhol got the material from newspapers and photo archives, and put them together with silk-screen printing. The deal was managed by Sotheby’s in November 2013 and was sold for more than 105 million dollars.
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