Still's $61.7m abstract beats Picasso, Warhol in 2011 sales

Value of priciest works of art sold at auction fell 41% last year amid economic woes
Still's $61.7m abstract beats Picasso, Warhol in 2011 sales
Not a single artwork crossed the $100m threshold in 2011
By Bloomberg
Wed 04 Jan 2012 05:47 PM

As the European debt crisis roiled financial markets in 2011, the value of the most expensive works of art sold at auction fell 41 percent.

The priciest 10 lots amounted to $413.6m, compared with a tally of $698.6m in 2010, according to Bloomberg News calculations.

With a dearth of major estates and masterpieces by market stars, not a single artwork crossed the $100m threshold in 2011.

Evening sales of Impressionist and modern art in London and New York dropped by 21 percent from last year; their postwar and contemporary counterparts fared better, gaining 35 percent, according to the calculations.

Together, the major auctions, including private collections, in these categories at Sotheby’s and Christie’s International tallied $3bn, just beating the $2.9bn in 2010.

Museum-quality works by undervalued artists, from Old Masters to postwar set records and ignited bidding wars.

Click here to view last year’s 10 most valuable artworks at auction

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