People from all over the world enjoy auctions and find the process itself pleasurable. Auctioning is exciting, and if you come in the right place, at the right time, you will not only get the satisfaction of being at an auction, but you will also have an opportunity to purchase a collectible you’ve been searching for a long time. With this said, we present you a list of the most expensive items sold at auctions in 2017.
1. Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi (US$450.3 million) – Salvator Mundi was auctioned at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on November 15 in New York. Dating from around 1500, the painting was thought to have been destroyed but was discovered about six years ago in a small regional auction in the US.
2. Twelve Landscape Screens by Qi Baishi (US$141 million) – Qi Baishi's masterpiece was auctioned at Beijing Poly International Auctions’ “More Sublime When Looking Up” – Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy Evening Sale on December 17 in Beijing. A frantic sale where bidding was only placed only by telephone, quickly cemented Qi’s position as the most influential of all Chinese artists in the twentieth century and one of the world’s most highly valued artists.
3. The CTF Pink Star (US$71.2 million) – The CTF Pink Star was auctioned at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Sale on April 4 in Hong Kong. Hailed as one of the world’s great natural treasures, the sale of this 59.60-carat oval, mixed-cut Fancy Vivid Pink Internally Flawless diamond set a new world auction record for any diamond or jewel after it was purchased by the renowned Hong Kong jeweler, Chow Tai Fook.
4. La Muse Endormie by Constantin Brancusi (US$57.4 million) – Brancusi's La Muse Endormie was auctioned at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on May 15 in New York. The sculpture represents an exploration of Constantin Brancusi’s intensely personal modernist path, highlighting his return to the elemental form of the primal egg as his initial inspiration and master key. It was the first in Brancusi’s series of egg-shaped sculptures, with the form of a sleeping woman’s head being distilled into an almost perfect oval.
5. Leda and the Swan by CY Twombly (US$52.9 million) – Leda and the Swan was auctioned at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 17 in New York. This human-scaled and epically-themed painting evokes both sensual and aggressive passions, becoming a performative work of this story of metamorphosis, seduction, and the birth of a new era. It’s a flurry of scrawls, scribbles, smears, splashes, and scratches executed on the canvas directly with the artist’s hands.
These are definitely items to remember. Each of them holds a history and disguises the artists’ innermost thoughts and desires. Even though some of the artwork may look weird and inexplicable, the artists who created them showed their vulnerability by pouring their hearts and souls into their masterpieces. That’s why we think all of them deserve the price they’ve been sold at as there is nothing more precious than one’s candid expression of experience.