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    Zhang Daqian’s Self-Portrait in the Yellow Mountains made US$6 million at Sotheby's Hong Kong in October 2011. (Click on image to enlarge).

    The most expensive painting sold at auction in 2011 was Qi Baishi's Eagle Standing on Pine Tree; Four-Character Couplet in Seal Script.

    The year 2011 saw Zhang Daqian take the number one spot and the art market achieve an absolute record of  $11.5 billion dollars in global art auction revenue. Artprice’s global ranking of artist’s by auction revenue showed six of the top ten selling artists were Chinese. The best result of the year, $57.2 million, was achieved by Qi Baishi whose Eagle Standing on Pine Tree; Four-Character Couplet in Seal Script sold in Beijing last May.  Strong growth was sustained throughout 2011, a year in which art sold better than at any other time in history. This followed on a 2010 which produced the best performance of the decade.

    The Chinese market grew 49 per cent in 2011 but leading European markets grew too: +24% in the UK ($2.24 billion in 2011 vs. $1.81 billion in 2010), +9% in France  ($521 million vs. $478 million in 2010) and +23% in Germany ($213.9 million vs. $174 in 2010). In the Top 5 market places,  only the USA contracted with a revenue total of $2.72B, down 3% vs. 2010.  Artprice figures showed the global art auction market generated 21% more than in 2010. Compared with 2010, Modern art added $1.2B, Post-war art added $372m, Contemporary art added $291m, Old Masters added $124 million and 19th century art posted an increase of $43 million.

    The top ten selling artists at auction in 2011 were: 1. Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) – $550m; 2. Qi Baishi (1864-1957) – $510m; 3. Andy Warhol (1928-1987) – $325m; 4. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) – $315m; 5. Xu Beihong (1895-1953) – $220m; 6. Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010) – $212m; 7. Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) – $198m; 8. Gerhard Richter (1932) – $175m; 9. Francis Bacon (1909-1992) – $129m and 10. Li Keran (1907-1989) – $115m.

    (See post on for April 7, 2011)

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