Here Are the 15 Most Expensive Artworks Sold at Auction Around the World in April 2023

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April was just a few months ago, but given the scrum of auctions and art fairs all over the world, it feels like much longer. Looking at data from Artnet’s Price Database, the majority of the most expensive lots sold last month came from a series of sales at Sotheby’s Hong Kong celebrating 50 years in Asia. The auction house was the first international company to set up a permanent outpost in Hong Kong, and a robust slate of sales, exhibitions, and events commemorated the occasion.

The top lot of the month as a very rare screen created in 1973 by Zhang Daqian, and held by the family of collector C.S. Loh for 50 years, which was presented at a standalone sale on April 5. After an opening bid of HK$150 million ($19 million), the piece ultimately fetched more than HK$251.6 million ($32 million) with fees, making it the artist’s third most expensive work at auction.

Other highlights came from the Modern evening and Contemporary evening sales, where familiar names like Yoshitomo Nara, Yayoi Kusama, and Zao Wou-Ki made it into the top 15. The late ultra-contemporary artist Matthew Wong’s (2018) set a new auction record, fetching HK$52.3 million ($6.6 million). As Artnet News’s Eileen Kinsella reported after the sale, the work was first bought at Karma gallery and first brought to auction in December 2020, just a year after Wong’s death. Less than three years later, it was back on the block and the price was 27 percent higher. Alex Branczik, senior director and chairman of modern and contemporary art for Asia at Sotheby’s noted that in 2013,  “for our 40th anniversary celebrations, there wasn’t a single western artist in the evening sale”—a stark contrast to the current state of affairs.

Below, see the full list of the top 15 most expensive works sold at auction in April 2023.

1. Zhang Daqian, (1973)

Zhang Daqian, <i>Pink Lotuses on Gold Screen</i> (1973). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Zhang Daqian, Pink Lotuses on Gold Screen (1973). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

 

Estimate: Undisclosed

Final Price: HKD251.6 million ($32.05 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

2. Yoshitomo Nara, (2012)

Yoshitomo Nara, <i>In the Milky Lake</i> (2012). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Yoshitomo Nara, In the Milky Lake (2012). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HKD80 million to HKD120 million ($10.2 million to $15.3 million)

Final Price: HKD100.6 million ($12.8 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

3. Pablo Picasso, (1948)

Pablo Picasso, <i>Femme dans un fauteuil</i> (1948). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Pablo Picasso, Femme dans un fauteuil (1948). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: Undisclosed

Final Price: HKD93.1 million ($11.9 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

4. Yayoi Kusama, (2014)

Yayoi Kusama, <i>Pumpkin (L)</i> (2014). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkin (L) (2014). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HKD40 million to HKD60 million ($5.1 million to $7.6 million)

Final Price: HKD62.6 million ($7.9 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

5. Yayoi Kusama, (2011)

Yayoi Kusama, <i>A-Pumpkin (BAGN8) </i>(2011). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Yayoi Kusama, A-Pumpkin (BAGN8) (2011). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HKD40 million to HKD55 million ($5.1 million to $7 million)

Final Price: HKD55.2 million ($7 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

6. Matthew Wong, (2018)

Matthew Wong, <i>River at Dusk</i> (2018). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Matthew Wong, River at Dusk (2018). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HKD40 million to HKD60 million ($5.1 million to $7.6 million)

Final Price: HKD52.3 million ($6.6 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

7. Joan Miró, (1947)

Joan Miró, <i>Sans titre </i>(1947). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Joan Miró, Sans titre (1947). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HKD32 million to HKD50 million ($4.1 million to0 $6.4 million)

Final Price: HKD50.6 million ($6.4 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

8. Zao Wou-Ki, (1999)

Zao Wou-Ki, <i>11.08.99 - Après l'éclipse</i> (1999). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Zao Wou-Ki, 11.08.99 – Après l’éclipse (1999). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HKD30 million to HKD50 million ($3.8 million to $6.4 million)

Final Price: HKD48.9 million ($6.2 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

9. Fitz Henry Lane, (1850)

Fitz Henry Lane, <i>Bar Island and Mount Desert Mountains from Somes Settlement</i> (1850). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Fitz Henry Lane, Bar Island and Mount Desert Mountains from Somes Settlement (1850). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: $1 million to $1.5 million

Final Price: $6.1 million

Where & When: Sotheby’s New York, April 19, 2023

 

10. Zao Wou-Ki, (1985)

Zao Wou-Ki, <i>25.03.85</i> (1985). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Zao Wou-Ki, 25.03.85 (1985). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HKD38 million to HKD58 million ($4.8 million to $7.4 million)

Final Price: HKD45.2 million ($5.7 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

11. Zhao Mengfu, Landscape and Calligraphy

Zhao Mengfu, <i>Landscape and Calligraphy</i>. Courtesy of China Guardian (Hong Kong) Auctions Co., Ltd.

Zhao Mengfu, Landscape and Calligraphy. Courtesy of China Guardian (Hong Kong) Auctions Co., Ltd.

Estimate: HKD22 million to HKD28 million ($2.8 million to $3.6 million)

Final Price: HKD42.9 million ($5.5 million)

Where & When: China Guardian Auctions, Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

12. Yoshitomo Nara, (2009)

Yoshitomo Nara, <i>Acid M.J. </i>(2009). Courtesy of Poly Auction Hong Kong.

Yoshitomo Nara, Acid M.J. (2009). Courtesy of Poly Auction Hong Kong.

Estimate: HKD34 million to HKD44 million ($4.3 million to $5.6 million)

Final Price: HKD40.1 million ($5.2 million)

Where & When: Poly Auction Hong Kong, April 6, 2023

 

13. Henri Matisse, (1951)

Henri Matisse, <i>Nu couché II </i>(1951). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Henri Matisse, Nu couché II (1951). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: €1.2 million to €1.8 million ($1.3 million to $1.9 million)

Final Price: €4.5 million ($4.9 million)

Where & When: Christie’s Paris, April 4, 2023

 

14. Gerhard Richter, (1992)

Gerhard Richter, <i>Abstrake Bilder</i> (1992). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Gerhard Richter, Abstrake Bilder (1992). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HKD32 million to HKD45 million ($4.1 million to $5.7 million)

Final Price: HKD36.8 million ($4.7 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 5, 2023

 

15. Winslow Homer, (ca. 1872)

Winslow Homer, <i>On the Beach at Marshfield</i> (ca. 1872). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Winslow Homer, On the Beach at Marshfield (ca. 1872). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: $2 million to $3 million

Final Price: $4.3 million

Where & When: Sotheby’s New York, April 19, 2023

 

 

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