Despite the lingering world financial crisis, the global art market saw its best-ever year in 2011, with its annual turnover surging 15 percent from more than US$9.36 billion in 2010 to US$10.8 billion, 3.5 times that of 2000.
The top ten most expensive artworks auctioned in 2011 are mainly from modern masters, with Chinese artist Qi Baishi (1864-1957) topping the rankings for his ink-on-paper "Eagle Standing on Pine Tree; Four-Character Couplet" which fetched US$57.2 million, according to a list recently released by Artprice, a French market research firm.
Also read: Top 15 highest-selling artists in 2011
China is becoming a fast-growing force in the global art market. 3 of the top 10 auctions of 2011 featured works by Chinese artists. Of the year's 100 best auction results, 30 came from Hong Kong, Beijing and Hangzhou, according to Artprice.
China.org.cn lists the top ten most expensive art works hammered in 2011:
Andy Warhol's Self-Portrait (1963-1964)
Andy Warhol's Self-Portrait (1963-1964) [File photo]
Andy Warhol (1928-1987), a renowned U.S. artist dubbed the "Prince of Pop", came in 10th with his iconic four-panel "Self-Portrait (1963-1964)" in blue of four variations. The 101.6cm x 81.3cm piece, from the Barron family collection, was hammered for US$34.25 million at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale in New York on May 11, 2011. It's a world record for a Warhol self-portrait.