Most global art market sales, split almost evenly between Asia, Europe and the Americas, are secured by antique and art dealers, according to the latest TEFAF art market report. At the top of the list of highest-selling artists at auction are many familiar names–Monet, Picasso, de Kooning, and others. This doesn’t mean that living artists aren’t pulling in big dollars are the auction block. Here are 5 of the top international contemporary artists of 2017.
Gerhard Richter, the German painter who became the highest-selling living artist in 2012 after his Abstraktes Bild went for $34 million, is a modern-day genius. His painting techniques vary from realism to unorthodox abstractions. His massive career of over 50 years is a true lesson in the width and depth of the painting mediums.
English art star Damien Hirst consistently makes headlines with his conceptual installations. In addition to his famous installations of preserved animals, he also completes drawings, paintings, polychrome sculptures and others. In 2008, he sold out his show Beautiful Inside My Head Forever at Sotheby’s auction.
At 102, Carmen Herrera is a Cuban-American painter known as a pioneer of 20th century abstract painting. Based in New York, Herrera didn’t sell a work until the age of 89, after working without recognition in New York for years. She is now considered one of the most influential artists of today’s time with paintings starting at tens of thousands at auction.
Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese installation artist, known for her signature room-sized installations decorated with large dots. Kusama brushed shoulders with the likes of Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keefe during her time in New York and has sold paintings in the low millions at auction. Her brilliant use of color and pattern continue to attract collectors and art lovers around the world.
Wolfgang Tillmans, a German fine art photographer, has many awards and honors to his name, including the Turner Prize and membership in the Royal Academy of Arts. Tillman’s work focuses on observations of his surroundings as well as abstractions. Many of his prints are seen at auction houses such as Christie’s fetching price tags of nearly half a million dollars.