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Art Market Overview: Pierre Soulages, a Master of the Market

Published on , by Agathe Albi-Gervy

In recent years Pierre Soulages, a major figure in abstraction who died on October 26 this year at 102, was the living French artist with the highest price index.

Painting 195 x 130 cm, August 4, 1961 by Pierre Soulages sold for $20.14 million... Art Market Overview: Pierre Soulages, a Master of the Market

Painting 195 x 130 cm, August 4, 1961 by Pierre Soulages sold for $20.14 million at Sotheby's New York, 2021.
© Sotheby's

His earliest paintings from the 1950s and 1960s are the ones that sell for the most, according to Art Price. For example, a painting from his "red" period posted a record price of $20.14 M at Sotheby's New York on November 16, 2021, beating 2018’s previous record of $10.6M at Christie's New York. That $20.14 M took Soulages to seventh place among the highest-priced 20th-century French artists, after Zao Wou-ki, Yves Klein, Louise Bourgeois, Chu Teh-chun, Jean Dubuffet and Nicolas de Staël. Works by Soulages auctioned in 2021 (with 47.1% of sales in France) totaled $55.6 M, making him the world’s 34th best-performing artist. Last year, his prices rose by 24.3%.

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