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

See who's up, who's down, and who's up next.

© Haydon Perrior: Thomas De Cruz Media
Phillips's recent auction in London. © Haydon Perrior: Thomas De Cruz Media

This fall’s marquee auctions in New York and London proved just how high the market could go, both for blue-chip masterworks by the likes of Monet and Van Gogh as well as for figurative paintings by artists who are barely old enough to rent a car.

Much of this activity can also be tracked—sometimes even in advance of a big sale—on the Artnet Price Database. The search 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 October 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 most-searched list yet—but might soon. Some of these figures have had strong primary markets for some time, but are just beginning to gain traction at auction; others may be the flavor of the week for profit-hungry speculators. Either way, the spike in searches shows that their work is getting serious attention—and you’d be wise to keep an eye on where their markets are headed. 

 

Notable Fast-Risers

Louis Fratino (b. 1993)

Louis Fratino, Couple at Dusk (2018). Photo: courtesy of Jeff Bailey Gallery.

Louis Fratino’s work is nearly impossible to get on the primary market, which helps explain why the young painter has shattered estimates every time his work has hit the auction block this year. The Brooklyn-based artist, who is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in New York and Ciaccia Levi in Paris, is known for intimate male nudes that draw from both art history and his own queer community.

A Lucian Freud-esque portrait of a man in repose sold in an online sale organized by Sotheby’s London last month for £40,320 ($55,468), almost six times its £7,000 high estimate. (All final prices include buyer’s premium, while estimates do not.) Fratino’s auction record, set in a Sotheby’s Hong Kong evening sale on October 9, is $153,763. It is perhaps not surprising that the artist hadn’t surfaced in the Artnet Price Database this time last year; his works only began hitting the auction block in 2021. Last month, he commanded 71 searches.

 

Reggie Burrows Hodges (b. 1965)

Reggie Burrows Hodges, For the Greater Good (2019). Courtesy of Phillips.

Reggie Burrows Hodges, For the Greater Good (2019). Courtesy of Phillips.

Reggie Burrows Hodges, who was born in Compton, California, and lives in Maine, represents something of a departure for today’s youth-obsessed market. He is having a breakout year in his (gasp!) mid-50s. With acrylic and pastel on raw canvas, the artist renders everyday scenes of Black figures playing sports, biking, or swimming. His muted palette makes his compositions feel as if they are taking place behind a veil of memory. Last month, his painting of a tennis match sold for £441,000 ($606,685) at Phillips London, almost nine times its £50,000 high estimate.

His success caught the market by surprise: in September 2021, Hodges had zero searches in the Artnet Price Database. That number grew to 23 the following month. His streak continued last week, when a portrait fetched $567,000 at Phillips New York, smashing its estimate (already heftier than the month before) of $100,000 to $150,000. Hodges earned a prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation grant in 2020 and a solo show at New York’s trendsetting Karma gallery earlier this year. He’ll be the subject of a solo exhibition at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in 2022.

 

Lukas Duwenhögger (b. 1956)

Lukas Duwenhogger, Slowly Please, Keelaynak (2002). Courtesy of Sotheby’s London.

The German-born, Istanbul-based painter has appeared at auction sporadically over the course of his career (like Burrows Hodges, he has been at this for a while). But his work has started to attract heavyweight interest—some might call it speculation—this year with the estimate-busting sale of his rosy-hued interior Rezalet (Impertinence) (1998) for $649,200 at Sotheby’s new-art focused the Now evening sale in New York on November 18. Matthew Maclean described the Duwenhögger “look” in a 2016 Frieze review as “rich in mustards, mauves, dusty pinks, and chartreuse, [it’s] a union of Renoir and Rainer Werner Fassbinder: woozy, momentarily acidic, but fundamentally gentle.” This time last year, Duwenhögger drew exactly zero searches in the PDB; in September 2021, that number climbed to 11, and it reached a high of 25 ahead of the Sotheby’s sale in October. 

 

Baldur Helgason (b. 1984)

Baldur Helgason, <i>Portrait of the Man Waiting</i> (2018). Image courtesy Sotheby's.

Baldur Helgason, Portrait of the Man Waiting (2018). Image courtesy Sotheby’s.

If you’ve been reading this series regularly, you may have come to expect to encounter at least one artist each month who paints cartoonish figures doing things like riding bicycles or playing soccer (see: Javier Calleja, Edgar Plans, Oli Epp). This month’s example: Baldur Helgason. The Chicago-based Icelandic painter is perhaps best known for his portraits of a recurring, grimacing Popeye-like character (though he paints other big-eyed gentlemen and a few ladies, as well).

Like his peers on previous iterations of this list, Helgason has developed a fan base in Asia, where his paintings are increasingly sought-after at auction. A painting of a big-eyed cartoon figure peering over a man in a suit fetched HK$403,200 ($51,795), around double its high estimate, at Sotheby’s Hong Kong last month. Helgason—whose works echo the style of Chicago Imagist Ed Paschke—began to register on the Artnet Price Database this fall, when he drew 11 searches in September and 19 in October. 

 

Isshaq Ismail (b. 1989)

Isshaq Ismail, Nkabom 1 (2019). Courtesy of Phillips.

Isshaq Ismail, Nkabom 1 (2019). Courtesy of Phillips.

Within the past two months, Issaq Ishmail has gone from never having appeared at auction to having six works smash their estimates to smithereens. Last week’s New York sales served as a test of whether his boldly colored, thickly impastoed figuration, which he has described “infantile semi-abstraction,” would continue to draw international interest after a rollocking debut in October’s London auctions. Now, we have an answer. The artist’s deep blue Head 13 (2020) fetched $252,000 at a Sotheby’s day sale, roughly 10 times its $20,000-to-$30,000 estimate. The same week at Phillips, another work with the same estimate sold for $201,600.

While this kind of price ascent in such a short time is a telltale sign of speculation, Ismail is part of a new generation of Ghanaian artists making waves and has been championed by dynamo curator and dealer Destinee Ross-Sutton, who included him in her 2020 Christie’s exhibition “Stay It Loud.” Like his prices, his PDB searches also had one of the steepest jumps we’ve seen in recent memory, from zero in September to 51 in October. 

 

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

Rank Name Life
1 Pablo Picasso 1881 1973
2 Andy Warhol 1928 1987
3 Yayoi Kusama 1929
4 Marc Chagall 1887 1985
5 Alexander Calder 1898 1976
6 Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960 1988
7 Banksy 1974
8 David Hockney 1937
9 Gerhard Richter 1932
10 Joan Miró 1893 1983
11 Roy Lichtenstein 1923 1997
12 Damien Hirst 1965
13 Keith Haring 1958 1990
14 George Condo 1957
15 Henri Matisse 1869 1954
16 Salvador Dalí 1904 1989
17 Yoshitomo Nara 1959
18 Claude Monet 1840 1926
19 Lucio Fontana 1899 1968
20 Ed Ruscha 1937
21 Henry Moore 1898 1986
22 Jean Dubuffet 1901 1985
23 René Magritte 1898 1967
24 Jeff Koons 1955
25 Fernand Léger 1881 1955
26 Zao Wou-Ki 1920 2013
27 KAWS 1974
28 Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1841 1919
29 Sam Francis 1923 1994
30 Cy Twombly 1928 2011
31 Tom Wesselmann 1931 2004
32 Jasper Johns 1930
33 Alberto Giacometti 1901 1966
34 Alighiero Boetti 1940 1994
35 Christo
and Jeanne-Claude
36 Helen Frankenthaler 1928 2011
37 Rembrandt van Rijn 1606 1669
38 Pierre Soulages 1919
39 Alex Katz 1927
40 Josef Albers 1888 1976
40 Joan Mitchell 1925 1992
42 Bernard Buffet 1928 1999
42 Frank Stella 1936
44 Robert Rauschenberg 1925 2008
45 François-Xavier Lalanne 1927 2008
46 Cecily Brown 1969
47 Richard Prince 1949
48 Edgar Degas 1834 1917
49 Georg Baselitz 1938
50 Willem de Kooning 1904 1997
51 Robert Motherwell 1915 1991
52 Auguste Rodin 1840 1917
53 Günther Förg 1952 2013
54 Fernando Botero 1932
55 Max Ernst 1891 1976
56 Bridget Riley 1931
57 Cindy Sherman 1954
58 Wayne Thiebaud 1920
58 Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita 1886 1968
60 Joseph Beuys 1921 1986
61 Takashi Murakami 1962
62 Wifredo Lam 1902 1982
63 Georges Braque 1882 1963
64 Tiffany Studios 1878 1938
65 Barbara Hepworth 1903 1975
66 Francis Bacon 1909 1992
67 Sol LeWitt 1928 2007
68 Christopher Wool 1955
69 Vincent van Gogh 1853 1890
70 Mark Rothko 1903 1970
71 Wassily Kandinsky 1866 1944
72 Georges Mathieu 1921 2012
73 Shara Hughes 1981
74 Karel Appel 1921 2006
74 Man Ray 1890 1976
76 Ellsworth Kelly 1923 2015
77 Robert Longo 1953
77 Louise Bourgeois 1911 2010
79 Raoul Dufy 1877 1953
80 Jim Dine 1935
81 Flora Yukhnovich 1990
82 Camille Pissarro 1830 1903
83 Francisco Goya 1746 1828
83 Robert Mapplethorpe 1946 1989
85 Paul Klee 1879 1940
86 Jonas Wood 1977
87 Jacques Villon 1875 1963
87 Victor Vasarely 1906 1997
89 Robert Indiana 1928 2018
90 A.R. Penck 1939 2017
91 Yves Klein 1928 1962
91 Sigmar Polke 1941 2010
93 Giorgio de Chirico 1888 1978
94 Wolfgang Tillmans 1968
95 Claude Lalanne 1924 2019
96 Harry Hall 1814 1882
96 Antoni Tàpies 1923 2012
98 Peter Doig 1959
99 Francis Picabia 1879 1953
100 Antony Gormley 1950
101 Amedeo Modigliani 1884 1920
101 Hans Hartung 1904 1989
103 Arman 1928 2005
104 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1864 1901
105 Richard Diebenkorn 1922 1993
105 Kenneth Noland 1924 2010
107 Lee Ufan 1936
108 Paul Cézanne 1839 1906
109 Pierre Bonnard 1867 1947
110 Richard Serra 1938
111 Jadé Fadojutimi 1993
112 Philip Guston 1913 1980
112 Chu Teh-Chun 1920 2014
114 Albrecht Dürer 1471 1528
115 Hurvin Anderson 1965
115 Serge Poliakoff 1906 1969
117 Rashid Johnson 1977
118 Sean Scully 1945
118 Lucian Freud 1922 2011
118 Albert Oehlen 1954
121 Lynn Chadwick 1914 2003
122 Edvard Munch 1863 1944
122 Egon Schiele 1890 1918
122 Nicolas Party 1980
125 Donald Judd 1928 1994
126 Roberto Matta 1911 2002
127 Günther Uecker 1930
127 Jean (Hans) Arp 1886 1966
129 Alphonse Mucha 1860 1939
130 Lynda Benglis 1941
130 Louise Nevelson 1899 1988
132 Eugène Boudin 1824 1898
133 Julian Opie 1958
134 Georgia O’Keeffe 1887 1986
134 Vik Muniz 1961
136 Barbara Kruger 1945
137 L.S. Lowry 1887 1976
137 Marino Marini 1901 1980
139 Piero Manzoni 1933 1963
139 Kees van Dongen 1877 1968
141 Jean-Paul Riopelle 1923 2002
142 Hilary Pecis 1979
142 Emily Mae Smith 1979
142 John Baldessari 1931 2020
145 Mickalene Thomas 1971
145 Maurice Utrillo 1883 1955
145 Eddie Martinez 1977
148 Mario Schifano 1934 1998
149 Invader 1969
149 Milton Avery 1885 1965
151 Mr Doodle 1994
151 Tony Cragg 1949
151 Marcel Duchamp 1887 1968
154 James Rosenquist 1933 2017
155 Jean Fautrier 1898 1964
155 John Chamberlain 1927 2011
157 Enrico Castellani 1930 2017
157 Anselm Kiefer 1945
159 Kazuo Shiraga 1924 2008
160 Aboudia 1983
161 Helmut Newton 1920 2004
162 Ansel Adams 1902 1984
163 Leonor Fini 1908 1996
163 David Hammons 1943
163 Zhang Xiaogang 1958
166 Mary Cassatt 1844 1926
167 Javier Calleja 1971
167 Nicolas de Staël 1914 1955
167 Niki de Saint Phalle 1930 2002
170 Andrew Wyeth 1917 2009
170 Édouard Vuillard 1868 1940
170 Ben Nicholson 1894 1982
173 Chuck Close 1940 2021
173 Jean Royère 1902 1981
173 Andreas Gursky 1955
173 Franz West 1947 2012
177 Daniel Arsham 1980
177 Shepard Fairey 1970
177 Agnes Martin 1912 2004
180 Claes Oldenburg 1929
181 Christo 1935 2020
181 Mr. Brainwash 1966
181 Mimmo Rotella 1918 2006
184 Henri Cartier-Bresson 1908 2004
184 Odilon Redon 1840 1916
184 Anish Kapoor 1954
187 Loie Hollowell 1983
188 Romare Bearden 1911 1988
188 Hiroshi Sugimoto 1948
188 Paul Gauguin 1848 1903
191 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1880 1938
192 Tracey Emin 1963
192 Sam Gilliam 1933
194 Sanyu 1901 1966
195 Rudolf Stingel 1956
196 Isamu Noguchi 1904 1988
197 Alice Neel 1900 1984
197 Jackson Pollock 1912 1956
199 Max Pechstein 1881 1955
200 Irving Penn 1917 2009
201 André Kertész 1894 1985
201 Stanley Whitney 1946
201 Rembrandt Bugatti 1885 1916
204 Edgar Plans 1977
204 Diego Rivera 1886 1957
206 Gustav Klimt 1862 1918
207 Paula Rego 1935
207 Hans Hofmann 1880 1966
209 Samuel John Peploe 1871 1935
209 Robert Frank 1924 2019
209 Mel Bochner 1940
209 Le Corbusier 1887 1965
209 Barry Flanagan 1941 2009
209 Giorgio Morandi 1890 1964
215 Kenny Scharf 1958
215 Gilbert & George
217 Georges Rouault 1871 1958
217 Arnaldo Pomodoro 1926
219 František Kupka 1871 1957
219 Avery Singer 1987
221 Thomas Hart Benton 1889 1975
221 Henri Lebasque 1865 1937
221 Alfred Sisley 1839 1899
221 Imi Knoebel 1940
221 Ayako Rokkaku 1982
221 Maurice de Vlaminck 1876 1958
221 Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 1796 1875
228 Martin Kippenberger 1953 1997
228 Franz Kline 1910 1962
228 César 1921 1998
231 Rufino Tamayo 1899 1991
232 Henri Jean Guillaume Martin 1860 1943
232 André Masson 1896 1987
232 André Derain 1880 1954
232 Emil Nolde 1867 1956
232 Frank Auerbach 1931
237 André Butzer 1973
237 Jean Prouvé 1901 1984
239 Alexej von Jawlensky 1864 1941
239 Robert Mangold 1937
239 Marlene Dumas 1953
239 Brice Marden 1938
239 Matthew Wong 1984 2019
244 William Turnbull 1922 2012
244 Ugo Rondinone 1964
244 Paul Signac 1863 1935
247 Walasse Ting 1929 2010
247 William Scott 1913 1989
249 Claire Tabouret 1981
249 Ai Weiwei 1957
251 Mark Bradford 1961
251 Sir Alfred Munnings 1878 1959
253 Jean Metzinger 1883 1956
253 Lucas Arruda 1982
253 Olafur Eliasson 1967
253 Thomas Ruff 1958
253 Adolph Gottlieb 1903 1974
258 Anton Raphael Mengs 1728 1779
258 Tamara de Lempicka 1898 1980
260 Urs Fischer 1973
260 Thomas Schütte 1954
262 Harland Miller 1964
262 Manolo Valdés 1942
264 George Nakashima 1905 1990
264 Joel Shapiro 1941
264 Édouard Manet 1832 1883
264 James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834 1903
264 William Eggleston 1939
264 Paul Jenkins 1923 2012
264 Michelangelo Pistoletto 1933
271 Fausto Melotti 1901 1986
271 Le Pho 1907 2001
271 Julian Schnabel 1951
271 Howard Hodgkin 1932 2017
275 Pat Steir 1940
275 Albert Marquet 1875 1947
275 Sterling Ruby 1972
275 Raymond Pettibon 1957
275 Amoako Boafo 1984
280 Zeng Fanzhi 1964
281 Joel Mesler 1974
281 Edward S. Curtis 1868 1952
281 Elizabeth Peyton 1965
281 Lynette Yiadom-Boakye 1977
285 Cinga Samson 1986
285 John Henry Twachtman 1853 1902
285 Maurizio Cattelan 1960
288 Gerrit Rietveld 1888 1964
288 Robert Combas 1957
288 Adrian Ghenie 1977
288 Bruce Nauman 1941
292 Salman Toor 1983
292 Richard Estes 1932
292 M.C Escher 1898 1972
292 Victor Brauner 1903 1966
292 Richard Avedon 1923 2004
292 Glenn Ligon 1960
298 Etel Adnan 1925
298 Mark Grotjahn 1968
298 David Salle 1952
298 Diego Giacometti 1902 1985
302 Giacomo Balla 1871 1958
302 Marie Laurencin 1883 1956
302 Aristide Maillol 1861 1944

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