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

We combed the data to find the top 15 lots of June 2021.

Helena Newman, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art department, taking the Modern and Contemporary art evening Sale, June 29 2021. Image courtesy Sotheby's.
Helena Newman, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art department, taking the Modern and Contemporary art evening Sale, June 29 2021. Image courtesy Sotheby's.

With major auctions in London, Beijing, and Hong Kong, June was a not-so-quiet month for the art market. The top lots include set pieces by the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Wassily Kandinsky, Lucian Freud, and, of course, old faithful: Pablo Picasso. Chinese painters ranging from the 14th century (Yáng Wéizhēn) to the present (Liu Ye) also make appearances.

Price points were considerably lower than in May, when five works sold for over $50 million each; last month, only one work broke that barrier. But big buyers and sellers were active, as Bill Acquavella and Jose Mugrabi, two powerful New York dealers, offloaded a Basquiat triptych from 1985 at a Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction organized by Jay Chou, the “King of Mandopop.” The family of the late Swiss collector Frieder Burda, who died in 2019, was behind the sale of Picasso’s L’Étreinte (1969), which sold at Christie’s London for $20.4 million.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reported that the Reuben family, the U.K.’s second richest family, were the buyers of Lucian Freud’s 2002 painting of David Hockney for more than $20 million, making it the sixth most expensive work by the late British artist to sell at auction.

Below, we’ve combed the data from Artnet’s Price Database to highlight the top 15 lots that sold at auction around the globe in June 2021.

 

1. Xu Yang, Picture of offering a gift to the Western Regions (n.d.)

Xu Yang, <i>Picture of offering a gift to the Western Regions</i> (n.d.). Courtesy of Poly Auction Co. Ltd.

Xu Yang, Picture of offering a gift to the Western Regions (n.d.). Courtesy of Poly International Auction Co. Ltd.

Final Price: RMB 414 million ($64 million)

Estimate: Undisclosed

Where & When: Poly International Auction Co., Ltd., Beijing, June 6, 2021

 

2. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1985) 

Jean-Michel Basquiat, <I>Untitled</i> (1985). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1985). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Final Price: HKD 289.3 million ($37.2 million)

Estimate: HKD 255 million to HKD 350 million ($32.8 million to $45.1 million)

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

 

3. Sanyu, Untitled (Gunma fiberboard oil painting) (ca. 1930)

Sanyu, <i>Untitled (Gunma fiberboard oil painting)</i> (ca. 1930). Courtesy of Honor International.

Sanyu, Untitled (Gunma fiberboard oil painting) (ca. 1930). Courtesy of Honor International.

Final Price: RMB 207 million ($32.3 million)

Estimate: Undisclosed

Where & When: Honor International Beijing, June 2, 2021

 

4. Wassily Kandinsky, Tensions calmées (1937)

Wassily Kandinsky Tensions calmees (1937) Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's

Wassily Kandinsky Tensions calmees (1937) Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby’s

Final Price: £21.2 million ($29.3 million)

Estimate: £18 million to £25 million ($16.6 million to $34.6 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s London, June 29, 2021

 

5. Chen Danqing, Tibetan Group Painting· Shepherd (1980)

Chen Danqing, <i>Tibetan Group Painting, Shepard</i> (1980). Courtesy of Poly Auction

Chen Danqing, Tibetan Group Painting, Shepard (1980). Courtesy of Poly International Auction Co., Ltd.

Final Price: RMB 161 million ($25 million)

Estimate: Undisclosed

Where & When: Poly International Auction Co., Ltd., Beijing, June 4, 2021

 

6. Lucian Freud, David Hockney (2002)

Lucian Freud, <i>David Hockney</i> (2002). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Lucian Freud, David Hockney (2002). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Final Price: £14.9 ($20.6 million)

Estimate: £8 million to £12 million ($11.1 million to 16.6 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s London, June 29, 2021

 

7. Pablo Picasso, L’Étreinte (1969)

Pablo Picasso, <i>L'Étreinte</i> (1969). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Pablo Picasso, L’Étreinte (1969). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Final Price: £14.7 million ($20.4 million)

Estimate: £11 million to £16 million ($15.3 million to $22.2 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, June 30, 2021

 

8. Alberto Giacometti, Homme qui chavire (1951)

Alberto Giacometti, <i>Homme qui chavire</i> (1951). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Alberto Giacometti, Homme qui chavire (1951). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Final Price: £13.7 million ($19 million)

Estimate: £12 million to £18 million ($16.6 million to $25 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, June 30, 2021

 

9. Shitao, Tingquan at the foot of the mountain, vertical scroll ink on paper (1693)

Shitao, Tingquan at the foot of the mountain, vertical scroll ink on paper (1693). Courtesy of Rombon Auction House.

Final Price: RMB 121 million ($18.7 million)

Estimate: Undisclosed

Where & When: Rombon Auction Beijing, June 19, 2021

 

10. René Magritte, La Vengeance (1936)

Rene Magritte, <i>La vengeance</i> (1936). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Rene Magritte, La vengeance (1936). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Final Price: €14.6 million ($17.2 million)

Estimate: €6 million to €10 million ($7.1 million to $12 million)

Where & When: Christie’s Paris, June 30, 2021

 

11. Yoshitomo Nara, Missing in Action (2000)

Yoshitomo Nara, <i>Missing in Action</i> (2000). Courtesy of Phillips.

Yoshitomo Nara, Missing in Action (2000). Courtesy of Phillips.

Final Price: HKD 124 million ($16 million)

Estimate: Undisclosed

Where & When: Phillips Hong Kong, June 8, 2021

 

12. Yáng Wéizhēn, Book of Hu Yuexuan (five open ten pages) ink on paper (1369)

Yang Weizhen, <i>Book of Hu Yuexuan (five open ten pages)</i> (1369). Courtesy of Poly International Auction Co. Ltd.

Yang Weizhen, Book of Hu Yuexuan (five open ten pages) (1369). Courtesy of Poly International Auction Co. Ltd.

Final Price: RMB 90.3 million ($14.1 million)

Estimate: Undisclosed

Where & When: Poly International Auction Co., Ltd., Beijing, June 6, 2021

 

13. Pablo Picasso, Buste d’homme (1969)

Pablo Picasso, <i>Buste d'homme</i> (1969). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Pablo Picasso, Buste d’homme (1969). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Final Price: HKD 109 million ($14 million)

Estimate: HKD 93 million to HKD 143 million ($12 million to $18.4 million)

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

 

14. Pablo Picasso, Homme et femme au bouquet (1970)

Pablo Picasso, <i>Homme et femme au bouquet</i> (1970). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Pablo Picasso, Homme et femme au bouquet (1970). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Final Price: £9.4 million ($13 million)

Estimate: £8 million to £12 million ($11.1 million to $16.6 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s London, June 29, 2021

 

15. Liu Ye, Bamboo Bamboo Broadway (2011–12)

Liu Ye, <i>Bamboo Bamboo Broadway </i>(2011–12). Courtesy of Poly International Auction Co. Ltd.

Liu Ye, Bamboo Bamboo Broadway (2011–12). Courtesy of Poly International Auction Co. Ltd.

Final Price: RMB 80.5 million ($12.5 million)

Estimate: Undisclosed

Where & When: Poly International Auction Co. Ltd., June 4, 2021


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