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Art Insider Roundup: The Most Expensive Works Of 2023

The year 2023 finally saw a downturn in the rising trend that began in 2021. The pandemic era saw even more interest in blue-chip art, with all of the top ten artworks of 2021 selling for more than $50 million. Just a year prior in 2020, barely two works managed to cross than threshold. The trend rose even further in 2022 when even the 10th most expensive work fetched $79.8 million.

However, with the pandemic effects finally over, it seems that the inflated demand for blue-chip demand has also sobered up. The top ten lots of this year fetched $660 million, compared to the $1.1 billion of last year. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the three most expensive works sold this year.

Gustav Klimt, Dame mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan), 1917

Le Bassin aux nymphéas by Claude Monet was sold for $74 million (including fees) at a Christie’s auction in November. The work, made in 1919, featured a pond with waterlilies – part of a famous series by Monet. The painting exceeded its initial estimate of $65 million and is now one of the most expensive Monet works ever.

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Gustav Klimt’s Dame Mit Fächer (1917), also known as ‘Lady With A Fan’, took the second spot this year. Even before its auction at Sotheby’s London, the work had an impressive estimate of £65 million ($80 million). But on the auction day, the painting exceeded even those high expectations and was sold for £74 million ($94.3 million). The last time the painting appeared in the market, which was in 1994, it was sold merely for $11.6 million.

Pablo Picasso, Femme à la montre, 1932

2023 marked the 50th death anniversary of Pablo Picasso; it was only fitting that he took the market crown this year. His Femme à la montre (1932) was sold for $139 million at a Sotheby’s auction in November. This was the second most expensive Picasso work, right after 1955’s Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’), which was sold at Christie’s in 2015.