Here Are the 15 Most Expensive Artworks Sold at Auction Around the World in October 2022

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Ahead of the marquee fairs set to happen at the Big Three auction houses in New York in a few weeks, a smattering of sales took place in Europe and Hong Kong in October, delivering an initial referendum on the state of the art market.

The top lot of the month was consigned to Sotheby’s London auction by the William S. Paley Foundation, as revealed by art detective Katya Kazakina, with an estimate in excess of £30 million ($34.7 million). Though it was the first time Bacon’s brushy portrait study hit the block since Paley bought the work in 1963, it fell short of the presale estimate, fetching £24.3 million ($27.2 million). Other notable lots included David Hockney’s cotton-candy-hued landscape (1968-9), which bested its high estimate to fetch an impressive £20.9 million ($23.7 million) at Christie’s.

In Hong Kong, the second most expensive work—Gerhard Richter’s (1990)—fetched $25.5 million, becoming the second highest price for the artist to sell at auction in Asia. Sanyu’s sold for $11 million after a protracted bidding war, although the total results for the house’s contemporary and modern sales were down from last year.

The other big story from last month’s auctions came courtesy of the town of Salford, outside of London, where the artist L.S. Lowry was born. A 1953 painting called  was purchased in 1999 for $2.2 million by the Professional Footballers Association Player’s Foundation and displayed in the Lowry, but was consigned to the auction block to raise funds. Salford’s mayor implored heavyweights in the local community and sporting fans to help save the painting. Eventually, the Law Family Charitable Foundation stepped in with a donation of around $8.7 million, allowing the museum to bid on the work and keep it in its rightful home.

Below, see the full roundup of the top 15 most expensive lots to sell at auction last month.

 

1. Francis Bacon, (1963)

Francis Bacon, (1963). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: In excess of £30 million ($34.7 million)

Final Price: £24.3 million ($27.2 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s London, October 14, 2022

 

2. Gerhard Richter, (1990)

Gerhard Richter, <i>Abstraktes Bild</i> (1990). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (1990). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HK$175 million to HK$235 million ($22.3 million to $29.9 million)

Final Price: HK$200 million ($25.5 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 7, 2022

 

3. David Hockney, (1968–9)

David Hockney, Early Morning Sainte Maxime (1968-9), Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

David Hockney, Early Morning Sainte Maxime (1968-9), Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: £7 million to £10 million ($7.9 million to $11.3 million)

Final Price: £20.9 million ($23.7 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, October 13, 2022

 

4. Gerhard Richter, (1966)

Gerhard Richter, 192 Faber (1966). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Gerhard Richter, 192 Farben (1966). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: £13 million to £18 million ($14.6 million to $20.2 million)

Final Price: £18.3 million ($20.5 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s London, October 14, 2022

 

5. Lucio Fontana, (1960)

Lucio Fontana, <i>[Concetto spaziale]</i> (1960). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Lucio Fontana, [Concetto spaziale] (1960). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: Undisclosed

Final Price: €15.1 million ($14.8 million)

Where & When: Christie’s Paris, October 20, 2022

 

6. Gerhard Richter, (1971)

Gerhard Richter, <i>Wolkenstudie (grün-blau) (Study for Clouds (Green-blue))</i> (1971). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Gerhard Richter, Wolkenstudie (grün-blau) (Study for Clouds (Green-blue)) (1971). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: £6 million to £8 million ($6.8 million to $9 million)

Final Price: £11 million ($12.7 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, October 13, 2022

 

7. Sanyu, (1963)

Sanyu, <i>Branches</i> (1963). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Sanyu, Branches (1963). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HK$50 million to HK$100 million ($6.3 million to $12.7 million)

Final Price: HK$86.7 million ($11 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 7, 2022

 

8. Qi Baishi,

Qi Baishi,<i> Flowers and Fruits</i>. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Qi Baishi, Flowers and Fruits. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HK$18 million to HK$30 million ($2.29 million to $3.8 million)

Final Price: HK$78.6 million ($10 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 8, 2022

 

9. Zao Wou-Ki, (1965)

Zao Wou-Ki, <i>15.02.65</i> (1965). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Zao Wou-Ki, 15.02.65 (1965). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HK$65 million to HK$100 million ($8.3 million to $12.7 million)

Final Price: HK$77.5 million ($9.8 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 7, 2022

 

10. Pablo Picasso, (1965)

Pablo Picasso, <i>Femme assise à la galette des rois </i>(1965). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Pablo Picasso, Femme assise à la galette des rois (1965). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HK$60 million to HK$80 million ($7.6 million to $10.2 million)

Final Price: HK$76 million ($9.7 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 7, 2022

 

11. Peter Doig, (1996)

Peter Doig, <i>Country-rock (wing-mirror) </i>(1996). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Peter Doig, Country-rock (wing-mirror) (1996). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: HK$75 million to HK$98 million ($9.5 million to $8.9 million)

Final Price: HK$75 million ($9.57 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 7, 2022

 

12. L.S. Lowry, (1953)

L.S. Lowry, Going to the Match (1953). Property of the Players Foundation. Photo courtesy of Christie's London.

L.S. Lowry, (1953). Property of the Players Foundation. Photo courtesy of Christie’s London.

Estimate: £5 to £8 million ($5.6 million to $8.9 million)

Final Price: £7.8 million ($8.8 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, October 19, 2022

 

13. Francis Bacon, (1990)

Francis Bacon, <i>Painting 1990</i> (1990). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Francis Bacon, Painting 1990 (1990). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: £7 million to £9 million ($7.9 million to $10 million)

Final Price: £7.1 million ($8.05 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, October 13, 2022

 

14. Mary Cassatt, (ca. 1878–79)

Mary Cassatt, <i>Young Lady in a Loge Gazing to Right</i> (ca. 1878-79). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Mary Cassatt, Young Lady in a Loge Gazing to Right (ca. 1878-79). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Estimate: $3 million to $5 million

Final Price: $7.5 million

Where & When: Christie’s New York, October 20, 2022

 

15. Frank Auerbach, (1984–5)

Frank Auerbach, <i>Head of J.Y.M. </i>(1984-5). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Frank Auerbach, Head of J.Y.M. (1984-5). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Estimate: £3 million to £4 million ($3.4 million to $4.5 million)

Final Price: £5.6 million ($6.3 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s London, October 14, 2022

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