Here Are the 15 Most Expensive Artworks Sold at Auction Around the World in July 2021

We combed through the data to bring you the top lots sold around the world last month.

Artnet News, August 11, 2021

Courtesy of Sotheby's.
A woman views Turner’s seascape ahead of the Old Master auction. Courtesy of Sotheby’s. 

It may be the dog days of summer, but the art market never fully goes on vacation. (Just ask the gallery assistant who isn’t allowed to put up an autoreply.)  Despite a dearth of big-ticket lots, Old Master sales in London and a smattering of Chinese art auctions made for a more varied list than usual; there’s nary a Picasso or Basquiat in sight, and that’s a welcome change.

While Sotheby’s Old Master evening sale in London failed to find buyers for almost half of the works, netting only $23.9 million, Christie’s generated more than $52 million with a 78 percent sell-through rate.

The prices for top works were considerably lower in July than in the prior few months. While in June, the top lots (by Xu Yang and Jean-Michel Basquiat) fetched $64 million and $37.2 million respectively, last month’s priciest work fetched about $14.5 million, well under its low estimate of $16.5 million.

But lower price points also left room for a few surprises. Frans van Mieris the Elder’s The Music Lesson easily trounced its high estimate of $1.4 million to achieve $4.8 million; perennial favorite Yayoi Kusama’s works each rose well above their high estimates; and Artemisia Gentileschi’s Venus and Cupid also brought in significantly more than expected.

We combed the data from Artnet’s Price Database to highlight the top 15 lots that sold at auction around the globe in June 2021. See the full list below.

1. Bernardo Bellotto, View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi (1745–47)

"Bernardo

Final Price: £10.6 million ($14.6 million)

Estimate: £12 million to £18 million ($16.5 million to $24.8 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, July 8, 2021

2. Leonardo da Vinci, Head of a Bear 

"Leonardo

Final Price: £8.7 million ($12.2 million)

Estimate: £8 million to £12 million ($11 million to $16 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, July 8, 2021

3. Joseph Mallord William Turner, Purfleet and the Essex Shore as Seen From Long Reach (1808)

"Joseph

Final Price: £4.8 million ($6.6 million)

Estimate: £4 million to £6 million ($5.5 million to $8.3 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s London, July 7, 2021

4. Emperor Qianlong, Songyang Hanbotu

Emperor Qianlong, Songyang Hanbotu, Courtesy of XiLingYinShe Auction Co. Ltd.

Final Price: CNY41.4 million ($6.4 million)

Estimate: CNY28 million to CNY38 million ($4.3 million to $5.9 million)

Where & When: XiLingYinShe Auction Co. Ltd., Hangzhou, July 24, 2021

5. Georges de la Tour, Saint Andrew 

"Georges

Final Price: £4.29 million ($5.9 million)

Estimate: £4 million to £6 million ($5.5 million to $8.3 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, July 8, 2021

6. Amrita Sher-Gil, In the Ladies’ Enclosure (1938)

"Amrita

Final Price: $5.1 million

Estimate: $4.2 million to $5.6 million

Where & When: Saffron Art, Mumbai, July 13, 2021

7. Frans van Mieris the Elder, The Music Lesson

"Frans

Final Price: £3.5 million ($4.8 million)

Estimate: £700,000 to £1 million ($963,656 to $1.4 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, July 8, 2021

8. Xu Wei, Ink Flower Eight Sections (1591)

Xu Wei, Ink Flower Eight Sections (1591)

Xu Wei,  Ink Flower Eight Sections (1591). Courtesy of XiLingYinShe Auction Co. Ltd.

Final Price: CNY29.3 million ($4.5 million)

Estimate: CNY18 million to CNY25 million ($2.8 million to $3.9 million)

Where & When: XiLingYinShe Auction Co. Ltd., Hangzhou, July 24, 2021

9. Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkin (R) (2017/1992) 

"Yayoi

Final Price: JP¥425 million ($4.4 million)

Estimate: JP¥200 million to JP¥300 million ($1.8 million to $2.7 million)

Where & When: Mainichi Auction, Tokyo, July 31, 2021

10. Fu Baoshi, Jingbo Feiquan Picture (1963)

"Fu

Final Price: CNY28.5 million ($4.4 million)

Estimate: CNY16 million to CNY26 million ($2.5 million to $4 million)

Where & When: XiLingYinShe Auction Co., Hangzhou, July 25, 2021

11. Jan Davidsz de Heem, A Banquet Still Life

"Jan

Final Price: £3.1 million ($4.3 million)

Estimate: £3 million to £5 million ($4.1 million to $6.9 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, July 8, 2021

12. Anthony van Dyck, Family portrait of the painter Cornelis de Vos and his wife Suzanna Cock and their two eldest children, Magdalena and Jan-Baptist

"Anthony

Final Price: £2.4 million ($3.4 million)

Estimate: £1 million to £1.5 million ($1.4 million to $2.1 million)

Where & When: Sotheby’s London, July 7, 2021

13. Edward Burne-Jones, The Prince Entering the Briar Wood (1869)

Edward Burne-Jones, The Prince entering the Briar Wood (1869). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Edward Burne-Jones, The Prince Entering the Briar Wood (1869). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Final Price: £2.4 million ($3.3 million)

Estimate: £2 million to £3 million ($2.8 million to $4.1 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, July 8, 2021

14. Artemisia Gentileschi, Venus and Cupid

"Artemisia

Final Price: £2.4 million ($3.3 million)

Estimate: £600,000 to £1.2 million ($825,991 to $1.7 million)

Where & When: Christie’s London, July 8, 2021

15. Yayoi Kusama, Infinity-Nets (WFTO) (2016)

"Yayoi

Final Price: ₩3.1 million ($3.14 million)

Estimate: ₩1.5 million to ₩2.5 million ($1.3 million to $2.2 million)

Where & When: Seoul Auction, South Korea, July 29, 2021

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