While 2017 was a blockbuster year for art auctions, with the $450.3 million sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2018 was still an impressive year in its own right. Last year was the Rockefeller auction, which was the most valuable single-owner private sale in the history of America. Here are some of the most expensive pieces of art that were sold in 2018.
Nu Couché (Sur Le Côté Gauche) by Amedeo Modigliani
Last May, this piece sold for $157,159,000. Reclining nudes by Modigliani don’t come to auction very often, so it’s understandable that this piece sold for such a high price. Soethby’s assigned the piece the highest presale estimate in auction house history. This also made it the most expensive item ever sold at Sotheby’s, and the fourth most expensive artwork sold at an auction overall.
Chop Suey by Edward Hopper
Best known for Nighthawks, Edward Hopper made headlines last year with the sale of Chop Suey. Hopper mainly used oil paints to create his artwork and this piece is no exception. Originally estimated to sell for $70 million, the instantly recognizable painting went for $91,875,000 in November 2018 at Christie’s New York. The piece even inspired a bidding war between Loïc Gouzer, Christie’s co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art last month, and Eric Widing, a specialist at Christie’s who worked with Barney Ebsworth to build his art collection.
Suprematist Composition by Kasimir Malevich
A 2-foot by 3-foot painting, this piece of art cost $99,320 per square inch, for a total of $85,812,500. Sold at Christie’s in May of last year, the piece was purchased by Brett Gorvy, the current co-owner of Lévy Gorvy and the former post-war chairman of the house. Selling above the $70 million estimate, the piece set a new record for Malevich.
Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) by Pablo Picasso
In late February of last year, a single advisor purchased 13 Picasso pieces in a span of two days for the price of $155.2 million. A large majority of that total was spent on this portrait of Picasso’s golden muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter. The painting came out to $55.9 million, much higher than the $40.6 estimated price. Sotheby’s London held the auction and Lord Mark Poltimore did the bidding for Harry Smith of Gurr Johns.