Here Are the 15 Most Expensive Artworks That Sold at Auction Around the World in April 2021

We combed through the results to bring you the top 15 lots of April 2021.

Auctioneer Ian McGinlay holding court at the marquee evening sales in Hong Kong. Photo: Egill Bjarki.
Auctioneer Ian McGinlay holding court at the marquee evening sales in Hong Kong. Photo: Egill Bjarki.

As we know by now, business is booming at Hong Kong auction houses. And the city dominates our first monthly list of top sellers at auction.

Sotheby’s spring sales netted a total of HKD$3.85 billion ($496 million) in April, the house’s second highest total for a sale series in the Asian hub (second only to its 40th anniversary sale in fall 2013). Poly Auction Hong Kong boasted a strong showing as well.

Pablo Picasso’s Buste de matador set a new record in Asia for the blue-chip artist, and seven works sold for more than HKD$100 million, including Clyfford Still’s PH-568, which had been in a private collection for the past five decades.

For more on what exactly is driving the multi-million dollar bonanza, check out Julia Halperin’s dive into the data. For those who are more visually and less numerically inclined, we’ve assembled a quick hit of the top 15 lots that sold last month below. Bear in mind that as always, final prices include fees, estimates do not.

 

1. Chu Teh-Chun, Harmonie hivernale (1986)

Chu Teh-Chun, <i>Harmonie hivernale</i> (1986). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Chu Teh-Chun, Harmonie hivernale (1986). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$229.57 million ($29.54 million)

Estimate: HKD$80 million to HKD$120 million ($10.23 million to $15.44 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 18, 2021

 

2. Zao Wou-Ki, 13.02.62 (1962)

Zao Wou-Ki, <i>13.02.62</i> (1962). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Zao Wou-Ki, 13.02.62 (1962). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$162.93 million ($20.96 million)

Estimate: HKD$100 million to HKD$150 million ($12.87 million to $19.3 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 18, 2021

 

3. Pablo Picasso, Buste de matador (1970)

Pablo Picasso, <i>Buste de matador</i> (1970). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Pablo Picasso, Buste de matador (1970). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$140 million ($18.01 million)

Estimate: HKD$100 million to HKD$150 million ($12.87 to $19.3 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 18, 2021

 

4. Hongren, Landscapes and Calligraphies 

Hongren, <i>Landscapes and Calligraphies</i>. Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Hongren, Landscapes and Calligraphies. Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$128.46 million ($16.54 million)

Estimate: HKD$45 million to HKD$55 million ($5.79 million to $7.08 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 19, 2021

 

5. Clyfford Still, PH-568 (1965)

Clyfford Still, <i>PH-568</i> (1965). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Clyfford Still, PH-568 (1965). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$126.16 million ($16.24 million)

Estimate: HKD$105 million to HKD$145 million ($13.52 million to $18.67 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 19, 2021

 

6. Yoshitomo Nara, Berlin Barack, Room 1 (2007)

Yoshitomo Nara, Berlin Barack, Room 1 (2007). Courtesy of Poly Auction Hong Kong.

Yoshitomo Nara, Berlin Barack, Room 1 (2007). Courtesy of Poly Auction Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$120 million ($15.46 million)

Estimate: Upon request

Where & When: Poly Auction Hong Kong, April 21, 2021

 

7. Gerhard Richter, Schwefel (Sulphur) (1985)

Gerhard Richter, <i>Schwefel (Sulphur)</i> (1985). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Gerhard Richter, Schwefel (Sulphur) (1985). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$118.12 million ($15.21 million)

Estimate: HKD$80 million to HKD$100 million ($10.3 million to $12.88 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 19, 2021

 

8. Roy Lichtenstein, Reflections on Thud! (1990)

Roy Lichtenstein, <i>Reflections on Thud!</i> (1990). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Roy Lichtenstein, Reflections on Thud! (1990). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$110.12 million ($14.17 million)

Estimate: HKD$78 million to HKD$108 million ($10.04 million to $13.91 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 19, 2021

 

9. Sanyu, Nu avec un pékinois (ca. 1950s)

Sanyu, <i>Nu avec un pékinois</i> (ca. 1950s). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Sanyu, Nu avec un pékinois (ca. 1950s). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$105.48 million ($13.57 million)

Estimate: HKD$100 million to HKD$150 million ($12.87 million to $19.3 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 18, 2021

 

10. Yoshitomo Nara, Frog Girl (1998)

Yoshitomo Nara, <i>Frog Girl</i> (1998). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Yoshitomo Nara, Frog Girl (1998). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$96.28 million ($12.4 million)

Estimate: HKD$40 million to HKD$80 million ($5.15 million to $10.3 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 19, 2021

 

11. Zao Wou-Ki, Untitled (Golden City) (1951)

Zao Wou-Ki, <i>Untitled (Golden City)</i> (1951). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Zao Wou-Ki, Untitled (Golden City) (1951). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$74.45 million ($9.58 million)

Estimate: HKD$42 million to HKD$60 million ($5.4 million to $7.72 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 18, 2021

 

12. Zao Wou-Ki, 12.04.60 (1960)

Zao Wou-Ki, <i>12.04.60</i> (1960). Courtesy of Poly Auction Hong Kong.

Zao Wou-Ki, 12.04.60 (1960). Courtesy of Poly Auction Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$60 million ($7.73 million)

Estimate: HKD$45 million to HKD$65 million ($5.8 million to $8.37 million)

Where & When: Poly Auction Hong Kong, April 21, 2021

 

13. Zhang Daqian, Self Portrait with a Tibetan Mastiff 

Zhang Daqian, <i>Self Portrait with a Tibetan Mastiff</i>. Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Zhang Daqian, Self Portrait with a Tibetan Mastiff. Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$57.22 million ($7.36 million)

Estimate: HKD$48 million to HKD$60 million ($6.12 million to $7.72 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 18, 2021

 

14. Adrian Ghenie The Trip (2016)

Adrian Ghenie, <i>The Trip</i> (2016). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Adrian Ghenie, The Trip (2016). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$48.03 million ($6,18 million)

Estimate: HKD$39 million to HKD$49 million ($5.02 million to $6.31 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 19, 2021

 

15. Pierre Soulages, Peinture 125 x 202 cm, 30 Octobre 1958 (1958) 

Pierre Soulages, Peinture 125 x 202 cm, 30 Octobre 1958 (1958). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.

Pierre Soulages, Peinture 125 x 202 cm, 30 Octobre 1958 (1958). Courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Final Price: HKD$48.03 million ($6.18 million)

Estimate: HKD$38 million to HKD$58 million ($4.89 million to $7.47 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 18, 2021


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