The Most Expensive Works Sold at Auction in 2023

In 2020 only 2 of the 10 most expensive works of art sold at auction went for prices exceeding $50 million. Then, the next year, driven in part by the sale of artworks from the collection of the divorced Harry and Linda Macklowe, all the top 10 lots surpassed the $50 million mark. In 2022, the bar rose once again: the least expensive piece in the top 10, a work by René Magritte, took in $79.8 million.dragonpoker

Now, that bar has lowered, with a significant drop in the prices of the most expensive works sold at auction in 2023.

Compare this year’s 10th most expensive work to that of 2022. Henri Rousseau’s Les Flamants (1910) sold this past May for $43.5 million, setting a new auction record for him. That’s a little more than half the price of the Magritte sold in 2022.dragonpoker

Signs of a downturn are evident in other ways too. This year, four of the works that generated the year’s top 10 prices overall went for under $50 million—many fewer than last year. Then, consider the most expensive work sold at auction: a Picasso painting that took in $139 million. In 2022, an Andy Warhol “Marilyn” sold for $195 million. That’s a 29 percent difference.

The total figures for the top 10 lots exhibit a similar loss—$660 million in 2023 versus $1.1 billion in 2022.

Below, a look at the most valuable lots sold at auction in 2023.dragonpoker