Here Are the 300 Most-Searched Artists on Artnet’s Price Database in May 2021—and the Rising Talents Poised to Break in Soon

See who is up, who is down... and who is up next.

Auctioneer Gemma Sudlow fields bids during Christie's 21st Century evening sale in New York in May 2021. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd. 2021.
Auctioneer Gemma Sudlow fields bids during Christie's 21st Century evening sale in New York in May 2021. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd. 2021.

Last month saw a wave of market activity on opposite sides of the globe. Both New York and Hong Kong hosted major evening auctions and art fairs (Frieze in New York, Art Basel in Hong Kong). So perhaps it’s not surprising that there was also a flurry of searches on the Artnet Price Database.

The queries aren’t free, which means those running them have skin in the game, and changing rankings can offer a snapshot of business interests and activity in particular artists, especially on the secondary market. Below, we bring you the list of the top-searched artists on the Artnet Price Database in May 2021. (Those who had the same number of searches are listed as tied.) 

Before we get into that, however, here is a selection of artists on the rise who haven’t cracked the top 300 yet—but might soon. The selection reveals a moment when portraiture and still lifes remain at the forefront of popular taste, but a new aesthetic, characterized by digitally rendered cityscapes, maps, and architecture, is also emerging. 

 

Notable Fast-Risers

Jonathan Chapline (b. 1987)

Jonathan Chapline, <i>The Room</i> (2019). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Jonathan Chapline, The Room (2019). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

The Brooklyn-based artist uses 3D rendering software to create imagined, vintage-looking spaces that he enlivens with rich gradients of acrylic paint. In May 2020, Chapline had no PDB searches recorded, and his works were selling on the primary market for under $15,000. Seven months later, one of his sought-after interior scenes sold for $243,861 (HK$1.9 million) at Phillips in association with Poly Auction, nearly quadrupling its high estimate. Next week, two more works by Chapline are hitting the block at Phillips Hong Kong—and with nearly 50 searches in April and May, it’s safe to say there is substantial interest in where his market is heading.  

 

Jammie Holmes (b. 1984)

Jammie Holmes, <I>First Birthday</i> (2020). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Jammie Holmes, First Birthday (2020). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

The self-taught, neo-expressionist painter depicts his subjects—Black men and women—often looking directly at the viewer. Eight works by the Dallas-based artist have come to auction so far in 2021, all of which have handily outperformed their high estimates. Most recently, a painting of a boy in an inflatable pool sold for a record $193,231 (HK$1.5 million) at Christie’s Hong Kong on May 25. In May 2020, Holmes did not accrue a single search in the PDB; last month, he had 85. 

 

Sohei Nishino (b. 1982)

Sohi Nishino, <i>Diorama Map London</i> (2010). Courtesy of the artist and Michael Hoppen Gallery, London.

Sohi Nishino, Diorama Map London (2010). Courtesy of the artist and Michael Hoppen Gallery, London.

The Japanese artist’s massive “Diorama maps” capture urban landscapes through a mix of photography, collage, and cartography. (To gather raw material for his work, Nishino wanders a city’s streets for an average of three months.) The artist—who was the subject of a solo show at SFMOMA in 2016—saw a steep incline in searches from April 2021 (3) to May 2021 (17). His 2010 map of London sold at Phillips London on May 20 for $85,762 (£60,480), comfortably within its £50,000 to £70,000 estimate.

 

Susumu Kamijo (b. 1975)

Susumu Kamijo, <i>For Your Love</i> (2020). Courtesy of the artist and Christie's Images, Ltd.

Susumu Kamijo, For Your Love (2020). Courtesy of the artist and Christie’s Images, Ltd.

The Brooklyn-based, Japanese-born artist’s abstracted paintings of poodles look like what might happen if Warhol met the Hairy Who and they attended the Westminster Dog Show together. Kamijo, who shows with Jack Hanley in New York, is just starting to make waves on the secondary market (as well as in the Artnet Price Database, where his searches ranked alongside market darlings like Vaughn Spann and Allison Zuckerman last month). A painting he donated to benefit RxArt sold at Christie’s New York on May 14 for $93,750, shattering its $15,000 high estimate. 

 

Chris Huen (b. 1991)

Chris Huen, <i>Muimui</i> (2018). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Chris Huen, Muimui (2018). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

The Hong Kong-based artist creates drawings and paintings that contain overlapping perspectives of his life at home in Yuen Long, conferring a sense of constant motion. Huen—who drew 50 searches across April and May—has developed a passionate, dedicated following in Asia in recent years, and his market shows no sign of slowing down. On May 24, his painting of a dog sitting in a garden sold for $177,074 (HK$1.4 million) at Christie’s Hong Kong, more than doubling its HK$500,000 high estimate. Huen’s top three auction prices were all set in April and May of this year. 

 

300 Most-Searched Artists in the Artnet Price Database, May 2021

Rank Name Life
1 Pablo Picasso 1881 1973
2 Andy Warhol 1928 1987
3 Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960 1988
4 Banksy 1974
5 Marc Chagall 1887 1985
6 Yayoi Kusama 1929
7 Gerhard Richter 1932
8 Joan Miró 1893 1983
9 David Hockney 1937
10 Alexander Calder 1898 1976
11 Roy Lichtenstein 1923 1997
12 Keith Haring 1958 1990
13 Damien Hirst 1965
14 Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1841 1919
15 Claude Monet 1840 1926
16 Henri Matisse 1869 1954
17 Ed Ruscha 1937
18 Yoshitomo Nara 1959
19 Salvador Dalí 1904 1989
20 George Condo 1957
21 Willem de Kooning 1904 1997
22 Jean Dubuffet 1901 1985
23 Alberto Giacometti 1901 1966
24 Lucio Fontana 1899 1968
25 Henry Moore 1898 1986
26 KAWS 1974
27 Zao Wou-Ki 1920 2013
28 Fernand Léger 1881 1955
29 Sam Francis 1923 1994
30 Richard Prince 1949
31 Jasper Johns 1930
32 Tom Wesselmann 1931 2004
33 Cy Twombly 1928 2011
34 Joan Mitchell 1925 1992
35 Alighiero Boetti 1940 1994
36 Jonas Wood 1977
37 Alex Katz 1927
38 Jeff Koons 1955
39 Frank Stella 1936
40 Christo and Jeanne-Claude
41 Takashi Murakami 1962
42 Barbara Hepworth 1903 1975
43 Wayne Thiebaud 1920
44 Auguste Rodin 1840 1917
45 Edgar Degas 1834 1917
46 Mark Rothko 1903 1970
47 Fernando Botero 1932
48 Yves Klein 1928 1962
49 Robert Rauschenberg 1925 2008
50 René Magritte 1898 1967
51 Helen Frankenthaler 1928 2011
51 Amedeo Modigliani 1884 1920
53 Pierre Soulages 1919
54 Bernard Buffet 1928 1999
55 Georg Baselitz 1938
56 Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita 1886 1968
57 Josef Albers 1888 1976
57 Rembrandt van Rijn 1606 1669
59 Pierre Bonnard 1867 1947
60 Raoul Dufy 1877 1953
61 Georges Braque 1882 1963
61 Camille Pissarro 1830 1903
63 Rashid Johnson 1977
64 Giorgio de Chirico 1888 1978
64 Kenneth Noland 1924 2010
66 Arman 1928 2005
67 Wassily Kandinsky 1866 1944
68 Peter Beard 1938 2020
69 Alice Neel 1900 1984
70 Robert Motherwell 1915 1991
71 Cindy Sherman 1954
72 Richard Diebenkorn 1922 1993
72 Eddie Martinez 1977
74 Robert Indiana 1928 2018
75 Louise Bourgeois 1911 2010
75 Salman Toor 1983
77 Egon Schiele 1890 1918
78 Christopher Wool 1955
78 Max Ernst 1891 1976
80 Sigmar Polke 1941 2010
80 Kees van Dongen 1877 1968
82 Maurice de Vlaminck 1876 1958
83 Georges Mathieu 1921 2012
84 Sol LeWitt 1928 2007
84 Roberto Matta 1911 2002
86 Dana Schutz 1976
87 Cecily Brown 1969
88 Sam Gilliam 1933
89 Robert Mapplethorpe 1946 1989
89 Jean (Hans) Arp 1886 1966
91 Amoako Boafo 1984
92 Victor Vasarely 1906 1997
93 Milton Avery 1885 1965
94 François-Xavier Lalanne 1927 2008
95 Mark Bradford 1961
96 Lucian Freud 1922 2011
97 Robert Longo 1953
98 Günther Förg 1952 2013
99 René Lalique 1860 1945
100 Chu Teh-Chun 1920 2014
100 Jim Dine 1935
102 Francis Bacon 1909 1992
103 Vincent van Gogh 1853 1890
104 Albrecht Dürer 1471 1528
104 Francis Picabia 1879 1953
104 Frank Auerbach 1931
107 Louise Nevelson 1899 1988
107 Paul Cézanne 1839 1906
109 Bridget Riley 1931
110 Antoni Tàpies 1923 2012
110 Lee Ufan 1936
112 Rudolf Stingel 1956
113 Wifredo Lam 1902 1982
114 Elizabeth Peyton 1965
115 Hans Hofmann 1880 1966
115 Édouard Vuillard 1868 1940
117 Lynette Yiadom-Boakye 1977
118 Serge Poliakoff 1906 1969
119 Karel Appel 1921 2006
120 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1864 1901
121 Piet Mondrian 1872 1944
122 Peter Doig 1959
123 Hans Hartung 1904 1989
124 Tracey Emin 1963
124 Diego Giacometti 1902 1985
126 Joseph Beuys 1921 1986
127 Tamara de Lempicka 1898 1980
128 Henri Jean Guillaume Martin 1860 1943
129 Lynn Chadwick 1914 2003
130 Antony Gormley 1950
130 Diego Rivera 1886 1957
132 Adrian Ghenie 1977
133 Anselm Kiefer 1945
134 Paul Klee 1879 1940
134 Anish Kapoor 1954
136 Ellsworth Kelly 1923 2015
136 A.R. Penck 1939 2017
136 Julian Opie 1958
139 Donald Judd 1928 1994
140 Niki de Saint Phalle 1930 2002
140 Maurice Utrillo 1883 1955
142 William Kentridge 1955
142 Moïse Kisling 1891 1953
144 John Baldessari 1931 2020
144 Kenny Scharf 1958
144 Raymond Pettibon 1957
144 Aristide Maillol 1861 1944
148 Sanyu 1901 1966
149 Howard Hodgkin 1932 2017
150 Irving Penn 1917 2009
151 Odilon Redon 1840 1916
152 Claude Lalanne 1924 2019
152 Rufino Tamayo 1899 1991
154 Albert Oehlen 1954
155 Sonia Delaunay 1885 1979
155 César 1921 1998
157 Man Ray 1890 1976
157 Wolfgang Tillmans 1968
157 Leonor Fini 1908 1996
157 Jean Royère 1902 1981
157 Balthus 1908 2001
162 Agnes Martin 1912 2004
163 Lee Krasner 1908 1984
164 Ansel Adams 1902 1984
164 Günther Uecker 1930
166 Matthew Wong 1984 2019
167 Paul Signac 1863 1935
168 André Derain 1880 1954
169 Norman Rockwell 1894 1978
170 Julian Schnabel 1951
170 Mickalene Thomas 1971
170 Harold Ancart 1980
173 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1880 1938
174 Aboudia 1983
174 Barbara Kruger 1945
174 Mark Grotjahn 1968
174 Sean Scully 1945
178 Nicolas Party 1980
179 Lyonel Feininger 1871 1956
179 Thomas Hart Benton 1889 1975
181 Larry Rivers 1923 2002
182 Bruce Nauman 1941
183 Julie Mehretu 1970
184 Jesús Rafael Soto 1923 2005
185 James Rosenquist 1933 2017
186 Eugène Boudin 1824 1898
187 Kehinde Wiley 1977
187 Frank Bowling 1936
189 Alfred Sisley 1839 1899
190 Jean-Paul Riopelle 1923 2002
190 George Grosz 1893 1959
190 Elaine de Kooning 1918 1989
193 Invader 1969
193 Kerry James Marshall 1955
193 Isamu Noguchi 1904 1988
193 Avery Singer 1987
197 Berthe Morisot 1841 1895
198 Giorgio Morandi 1890 1964
198 Javier Calleja 1971
198 Mary Cassatt 1844 1926
198 Théo van Rysselberghe 1862 1926
202 Gilbert & George
202 Vik Muniz 1961
204 Shara Hughes 1981
204 Zhang Xiaogang 1958
206 Martin Kippenberger 1953 1997
207 Georgia O’Keeffe 1887 1986
207 Adolph Gottlieb 1903 1974
209 Le Pho 1907 2001
210 Richard Serra 1938
210 Paul Gauguin 1848 1903
212 Brice Marden 1938
213 Gustav Klimt 1862 1918
213 André Brasilier 1929
215 Liu Ye 1964
216 Kazuo Shiraga 1924 2008
216 Chuck Close 1940
216 Louis Valtat 1869 1952
219 Ai Weiwei 1957
219 William Eggleston 1939
221 Claire Tabouret 1981
221 Thomas Ruff 1958
221 Robert Colescott 1925 2009
221 František Kupka 1871 1957
225 Emil Nolde 1867 1956
225 Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 1796 1875
225 Michelangelo Pistoletto 1933
228 Jackson Pollock 1912 1956
228 Claes Oldenburg 1929
230 Andreas Gursky 1955
230 Marie Laurencin 1883 1956
230 Robert Combas 1957
230 Le Corbusier 1887 1965
234 Ayako Rokkaku 1982
234 Mario Schifano 1934 1998
236 André Masson 1896 1987
236 Sir Alfred Munnings 1878 1959
238 Marino Marini 1901 1980
239 Ugo Rondinone 1964
239 Horst P. Horst 1906 1999
241 L.S. Lowry 1887 1976
241 Giacomo Balla 1871 1958
243 Mr Doodle 1994
243 Romare Bearden 1911 1988
245 Hiroshi Sugimoto 1948
245 Imi Knoebel 1940
247 Mr. Brainwash 1966
247 Franz Kline 1910 1962
249 Glenn Ligon 1960
249 Jean Prouvé 1901 1984
249 Roman Opalka 1931 2011
252 John Chamberlain 1927 2011
252 Paul Jenkins 1923 2012
252 Grace Hartigan 1922 2008
255 Jean Fautrier 1898 1964
255 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775 1851
255 Markus Lüpertz 1941
258 Kim Tschang-yeul 1929 2021
259 Fausto Melotti 1901 1986
259 Joaquín Torres-García 1874 1949
261 Philip Guston 1913 1980
261 Lynda Benglis 1941
261 Enrico Castellani 1930 2017
261 Jacques Lipchitz 1891 1973
265 Childe Hassam 1859 1935
265 Max Beckmann 1884 1950
267 Edvard Munch 1863 1944
267 Käthe Kollwitz 1867 1945
269 Thomas Schütte 1954
269 Bernar Venet 1941
269 Françoise Gilot 1921
272 Eduardo Chillida 1924 2002
272 Helmut Newton 1920 2004
272 Georges Rouault 1871 1958
272 Mel Bochner 1940
272 Peter Halley 1953
272 Henry Taylor 1958
272 Julie Curtiss 1982
279 Shepard Fairey 1970
279 David Hammons 1943
279 Christo 1935 2020
282 Albert Marquet 1875 1947
282 Robert Mangold 1937
282 Zeng Fanzhi 1964
282 Urs Fischer 1973
282 Loie Hollowell 1983
282 Winston Churchill 1874 1965
288 Elisabeth Frink 1930 1993
288 Genieve Figgis 1972
288 Alexander Archipenko 1887 1964
291 Richard Avedon 1923 2004
291 Alberto Burri 1915 1995
291 Nicolas de Staël 1914 1955
294 Marcel Duchamp 1887 1968
294 Leonora Carrington 1917 2011
294 Manolo Valdés 1942
294 Mark Tobey 1890 1976
294 Louise Lawler 1947
294 John Frederick Peto 1854 1907
300 Tony Cragg 1949

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