Who Are the Top 100 Most Collectible Living Artists?

Guess who remains atop the market heap?

Jeff Koons attends the H&M Flagship Fifth Avenue store launch. Photo courtesy of Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

Which living artists sell for top prices at auction? Based on five years’ worth of auction sales from the artnet Auction Price Database, we bring you these exclusive lists, which includes updated data from the same roundup last year.

Two sets of data are presented below. The first presents the highest-selling individual lots for living artists. From the list, a number of entries make repeat entries, notably Cui RuzhuoJeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, Christopher Wool, Cady Noland, and Zhang Xiaogang, to name just a few. Some fell off the list, like Yayoi Kusama.

Cindy Sherman at the 2015 Guggenheim International Gala, 2015. Photo Patrick McMullan/Sean Zanni.

Cindy Sherman at the 2015 Guggenheim International Gala, 2015. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan/Sean Zanni.

The second list shows the top 100 living artists based on the total value of secondary market sales from January 2011 through mid-May 2016. It ranks artists by the total value of works sold, along with the number of artworks at auction. In addition to Yayoi Kusama and Cindy Sherman, female artists on this list includes Vija Celmins, Julie Mehretu, and Cady Noland.

The most notable news on the second list is the debut of Bruce Nauman, who entered the roster with a bullet at #70 following news of a retrospective at Basel’s Schaulager and New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2018. Among other newcomers are Chung Sang-Hwa (#78) and Wang Huaiqing (#89).

See who is nipping at Koons’s heels below.




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  • Access the data behind the headlines with the artnet Price Database.
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