Shane Ferro
Art market news and commentary by the staff of Art+Auction

MARKET WATCH: Art market news and commentary by the staff of Art+Auction

The Top Auction Prices of 2012 Nearly Double Last Year’s

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The top 10 auction lots of 2012 were worth a combined $595 million, which is 44% more than last year’s total ($414 million), calculates Bloomberg. No doubt “The Scream” — with its record-breaking $120 million sale in May — had something to do with the towering figure.

The major New York and London sales of Impressionist, modern, postwar, and contemporary art altogether brought in $3.8 billion, nearly a quarter more than last year. One possibility for the increase, Bloomberg notes, is potential changes to the federal tax code.

“A lot of collectors thought it was time to take their winnings off the table because they weren’t sure what the tax rate is going to be,” Artvest’s Michael Plummer told Bloomberg.

Here are the top 10 lots of the year:

1. Edvard Munch, “The Scream,” $119.9 million

2. Mark Rothko, “Orange, Red, Yellow,” $86.9 million

3. Mark Rothko, “No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue),” $75.1 million

4. Raphael, “Head of a Young Apostle,” $47.8 million

5. Li Keran, “Mountains in Red,” $46 million

6. Roy Lichtenstein, “Sleeping Girl,” $44.9 million

7. Francis Bacon, “Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror,” $44.9 million

8. Andy Warhol, “Statue of Liberty,” $43.8 million

9. Claude Monet, “Water Lilies,” $43.8 million

10. Pablo Picasso, “Nature Morte aux Tulipes,” $41.5 million

— Rachel Corbett

(Photo courtesy Christie’s)

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