TOP 10 Most Expensive American Artists

Robert Rauschenberg, Buffalo II, (1964)

In this article, we suggest getting to know 10 most expensive artists better.

Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning, Women as Landscape, (1954-55)

De Kooning is one of the most famous and richest painters. He is considered one of the forerunners of Abstract Expressionism. The canvases, created at a turning point in the artist’s career, revolutionized the depiction of the female body.

The most expensive artist, De Kooning, rethinks and deconstructs concepts such as femininity and beauty. De Kooning’s work was first exhibited in 1950. Then this canvas was shocking. But it was this scandal that made the work enter the list of the most famous creations in the history of art.

In 2018, auction house Christie’s (New York) sold a painting by Dutch-born artist but naturalized American Willem de Kooning for $68,937,500.

Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper, Chop Suey, (1929)

Chop Suey, a painting by renowned and the most expensive artist Edward Hopper, was sold at Christie’s in New York in November 2018. The price was $92 million.

Edward Hopper is known worldwide for his paintings depicting the backdrop of the American Dream. His works, striking in their realism, show America in the midst of economic and social changes.

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg, Buffalo II, (1964)

On May 15, 2019, the auction house Christie’s (New York) sold the iconic painting by American artist Robert Rauschenberg for $88,805,000!

The sold work is a symbolic silkscreen of the artist, in which the world of art is intertwined with the world of politics. The huge composition is also rich in semiological elements, ranging from the iconic (for example, the portrait of John F. Kennedy) to the banal (key). Collectively, the elements of the network represent all of America.

One of the most expensive artists was associated with the movements of abstract expressionism and neo-dada. Robert Rauschenberg is also one of the precursors of Pop Art. His works range from painting to engraving, photography, choreography, and music.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol, Double Elvis [Ferus Type], (1963)

Andy Warhol is undoubtedly one of the most expensive artists in the US. As evidenced by the sale on November 30, 2019, at Christie’s (New York) of his painting “Double Elvis [Type of Ferus]” for $53,000,000!

Andy Warhol is one of the American artists who revolutionized art from the 1960s to the 1980s. Today it has become a real myth and an undisputed icon in the world and history of art.

Edward Ruscha

Ed Rusha, Hurting the Word Radio #2, (1964)

On November 13, 2019, an Ed Ruscha painting was bought at Christie’s (New York) for $52,485,000. Ruscha is one of the most expensive artists and he is considered the most innovative American artist of the 1960s. His work is associated with pop art because it draws inspiration from modern society, advertising, and popular culture.

Mark Rothko

On May 16, 2019, Mark Rothko sold a work at Sotheby’s (New York) for $50,095,250.

Rothko is undoubtedly one of the most influential and valuable artists of the USA of the post-war period.

His abstract paintings are sold at a high price. The artist connected abstraction and spirituality. Rothko stands out among the artists of his time. Expression and especially emotion are central in his work.


Kaws, The Kaws Album, (2005)

In April 2019, this New York-based artist sold his work “The Kaws Album” at Sotheby’s (Hong Kong) for $14,772,700!

Street artist, painter, illustrator, sculptor, and publisher, one of the most expensive artists, Kaws touches everything that surrounds the pop art universe. His work, inspired by popular culture (Disney, The Simpsons) is exhibited in many renowned museums. Through painting, sculpture, design, and the creation of “toys”, Kaws really established himself as one of the most valuable artists in the pop art scene.

Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool, Untitled (1990)

In 2018, Christopher Wool sold one of his works at Christie’s (New York) for $15,218,750.

One of the most expensive artists is known for his large-scale paintings. The aesthetics of his work finds a source between pop art and conceptual art. He combines screen printing techniques and hand painting in great formal freedom.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Pollo Frito), 1982

The diptych “Untitled (Pollo Frito)” by Jean-Michel Basquiat was sold for $ 25,701,500.

Jean-Michel Basquiat remains one of the most recognizable and the most expensive artists. He is the artist who elevated Street Art to the ranks of other arts. He has not hesitated to draw inspiration from his roots as well as current events. Basquiat wanted to express through his work a triple criticism: against the system, religion, and politics of his time.

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, Rabbit (1986)

Not surprisingly, the most expensive American artist is the king of kitsch, Jeff Koons. At Christie’s (New York), his work “Rabbit” was sold for a huge amount of 91,075 million dollars. Jeff Koons succeeds brilliantly in paradox: he is one of the most controversial contemporary artists while creating the most consensual art.


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