The Top 10 Most Expensive Living American Artists of 2016
Here's what it takes to rise to the top.
Each year, artnet News rounds up the art world’s top-performing artists at auction, across categories. But as the 2016 results come in from the first half of auction season, not much has changed since we last mined the artnet Price Database to identify the most expensive living American artists of 2015—which isn’t a good thing.
Similar to artnet News’s last list featuring the top 10 most expensive living British artists, the lack of diversity is evident, and the problem is no different on this side of the Atlantic. David Hammons is the only person of color on the list, and Cindy Sherman has been knocked off, leaving Cady Noland as the lone female artist in this pricey deck of cards. There are also some surprises, though, as Ed Ruscha’s 1963 painting, Smash, is only a few million behind Jasper Johns’s iconic Flag (1983) artwork. Nevertheless, we’re waiting for some new voices to rise to the top in 2017.
See the complete list of the most expensive American artists at auction below.
TOP TEN ARTISTS BY LOT 2006–2016
1. Jeff Koons
Balloon dog (Orange), (1994–2000) sold on November 12, 2013 at Christie’s New York for $58.4 million.
2. Jasper Johns
Flag (1983) sold on November 11, 2014 at Sotheby’s New York for $36 million.
3. Ed Ruscha
Smash (1963) sold on November 12, 2014 at Christie’s New York for $30.4 million.
4. Christopher Wool
Untitled (Riot) (1990) sold on May 12, 2015 at Sotheby’s New York for $29.9 million.
5. Robert Ryman
Bridge (1980) sold on May 13, 2015 at Christie’s New York for $20.6 million.
6. Frank Stella
Delaware Crossing (1961) sold on November 4, 2015 at Sotheby’s New York for $13.7 million.
7. Brice Marden
The Attended (1996–1999) sold on November 13, 2013 at Sotheby’s New York for $10.9 million.
8. Cady Noland
Bluewald (1989) sold on May 11, 2015 at Christie’s New York for $9.8 million.
9. Richard Prince
Runaway Nurse (2005–2006) sold on May 10, 2016 at Christie’s New York for $9.7 million.
10. David Hammons
Untitled (2000) sold on November 11, 2013 at Phillips New York for $8 million.
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