Historic profits powerhouses in the art market
We have all read stories about how nobody wanted to buy Vincent Van Gogh’s $90 million artworks when he was alive or of lucky bargain hunters inadvertently purchasing priceless Jackson Pollack pieces for less than a dollar but artworks selling at exceptional profits are a more common phenomenon than many would expect. There is a rich history of artworks selling for far more than they were originally purchased for as you can see below. We’re calling these pieces profit powerhouses.
Andy Warhol – “Four Marilyns” 1962
Andy Warhol is an iconic Pop Artist who shot to fame in the 1960s his artworks regularly sell for millions of dollars and are collected by many famous faces including Leonardo Di Caprio and Elton John. One of his most profitable works was the 1962 piece, “Four Marilyns” which was purchased in 1992 for $955,433. Fast forward 24 years and the piece was sold at an auction at Christie’s for $36 million netting the sellers a phenomenal 3667% return on their investment.
Claude Monet – “Meules” 1890
Claude Monet is among the most renowned artists of the 19th Century and is named by many as the founder of Impressionism so it should come as no surprise that his artwork is profoundly expensive. With this said, one lucky collector managed to snap up a piece named “Meules” for $2.53 million in 1986. While this may seem like a pricey purchase it pales in comparison to the $110.7 million that the artwork was sold for in 2019.
Gerhard Richter – “A.B. Still” 1986
Gerhard Richter is an artist who is notoriously hard to pin down, his style varies from Abstract to Photorealistic to Photography and he is considered to be the most important German Contemporary Artist. Richter’s most profitable artwork was interestingly originally acquired in 1991 in an Estate Sale of a partner at Oppenheimer and Co for $264,000. 25 years later the piece was auctioned at Sotheby’s where it amassed $33.9 million or 128x the original purchase price.
David Hockney – “Portrait of an artist (Pool with two figures)” 1972
David Hockney is considered to be one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century who works in a variety of mediums including prints and digital art. His piece, “Portrait of an artist (Pool with two figures)” made headlines in 2018 when it sold for $90.3 million breaking the previous record of a living artist. The piece was initially sold in 1972 for $18,000.
Jean-Michel Basquiat – “Untitled” 1982
Basquiat has become a household name recently with his iconic artwork and stimulating personality. Like Warhol, his art has been collected by many celebrities including Jay-Z and Beyonce which has further boosted his esteem. Basquiat makes it to the top of this list with his piece, “untitled”, which was purchased in 1984 for just $19,000. 33 years later, in 2017, the same piece sold for a gargantuan $110.5 million or more than 500,000% more than it was originally purchased for.