The Market's Hottest Artists By Ben Steverman - Oct 16, 2012
The Value of Art
Art can be profound, beautiful and a great place for the wealthy to park their cash, especially when other investing options are uninspiring. A recent Barclays Wealth survey foundmillionaires devoting almost a tenth of their fortunes to nonfinancial assets such as art and collectibles, with more and more owning fine art. New millionaires and billionaires from China, India and Russia are bidding up the value of their countries' master artists at eye-popping rates.
Bloomberg.com worked with Artnet, the online art database, to identify the most lucrative artists of the 21st century so far. Click ahead for the 15 artists -- living and dead, out of about 1,000 tracked by Artnet -- who saw their works' value rise the fastest in percentage terms since 2000.
15. Zao Wou-Ki
Change since 2000: +1,779%
Zao Wou-Ki's paintings are an "exemplary reconciliation of Chinese and European aesthetics," according to New York University Professor Jonathan Hay. Zao, born in Beijing in 1921, has worked in Paris since 1948.
Top sale price: $8.86 million for "10.1.68" (left) in October 2011.
14. Richard Prince
Change since 2000: +1,912%
A painter and photographer in upstate New York, Richard Prince practices "Appropriation Art," reusing others' images in his work. In fact, Prince, 63, is appealing a federal court finding that he infringed on another photographer's work for a series of collages called "Canal Zone."
Top sale price: $8.45 million for "Overseas Nurse" (left) in July 2008.
13. Albert Oehlen
Change since 2000: +1,962%
According to the Saatchi Gallery, which sells his work: "Albert Oehlen's paintings are neither beautiful nor seductive. Their self-consciously brutal surfaces seem to be corrupted from within, a perversion of the paintings they might have been." Born in Germany in 1954, he lives in Cologne and in La Palma, Spain.
Top sale price: $722,500 for "Untitled" in May 2012. At left is "Peon," sold for $422,500 in Oct. 2011.
12. Yayoi Kusama
Change since 2000: +2,306%
Yayoi Kusama has painted since age 10 and worked in almost every other medium, including film, fiction, sculpture and performance art. Born in Japan, she lived in the United States from 1957 to 1973 before returning to her home country. According to Artnet, she is the world's best-selling living female artist.
Top sale price: $5.79 million for "No. 2" (left) in November 2008.
11. Carlos Cruz-Diez
Change since 2000: +2,341%
The art of Carlos Cruz-Diez, 89, explores the way color and light work, using painting and artistic installations. He was born in Venezuela and lives in Paris.
Top sale price: $722,500 for "Physichromie 164" (left) in May 2012.
10. Christopher Wool
Change since 2000: +2,482%
Christopher Wool is a painter best known for what the New York Times calls "big, sign-like word pictures that deliver gnomic, vaguely alarming messages." Born in Chicago in 1955, he lives in New York.
Top sale price: $7.71 million for "Untitled" (left) in Feb. 2012.
9. Sayed Haider Raza
Change since 2000: +2,627%
A painter born in 1922, Sayed Haider Raza co-founded the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group, an Indian avant-garde art movement, in 1947. Although he moved to Paris, his work was strongly influenced by his home country, especially since the 1970s. The sale of "Saurashtra" for $3.45 million in 2010 was the highest price ever paid for a work by a living Indian artist, according to Artnet.
Top sale price: $3.45 million for "Saurashtra" (left) in June 2010.
8. Lucian Freud
Change since 2000: +2,723%
Lucian Freud is a British painter known for his portraits, especially of nudes. When he died in 2011 at age 88, Bloomberg's Laurence Arnoldcalled him a "painter of regular people in all their fleshy glory who stayed loyal to portraiture and realism even when modern art veered toward the abstract." Born in Germany, he was the grandson of Sigmund Freud.
Top sale price: $33.6 million for "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" (left) in May 2008.
7. Chu Teh-Chun
Change since 2000: +3,198%
The paintings of Chu Teh-Chun, who was born in China in 1922, moved from traditional Chinese painting toward a more abstract style after he moved to Paris in 1955. He began incorporating Chinese calligraphy into his works in the 1980s.
Top sale price: $5.87 million for "Vertige Neigeux (diptych)" (left) in November 2009.
6. Julian Stanczak
Change since 2000: +3,331%
A painter and printmaker born in Poland in 1928, Julian Stanczak lost the use of his right arm during World War II in a Siberian concentration camp. After he emigrated to the United States in 1950, his early work prompted critics to coin the term "Op Art" for works that use optical illusions.
Top sale price: $62,500 for "Linear Transit" (left) in March 2012.
5. Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova
Change since 2000: +4,482%
Natalia Goncharova was a Russian avant-garde painter who also designed costumes and sets for the Ballets Russes in the early 20th century. Her works have been popular among Russian and Ukrainian collectors, according toBloomberg News. Goncharova died in 1962 at the age of 81.
Top sale price: $10.9 million for "Les Fleurs" (left) in June 2008.
4. Lee Bontecou
Change since 2000: +4,526%
An American sculptor and printmaker, Lee Bontecou became known in the late 1950s and early 1960s for her three-dimensional reliefs. She taught at Brooklyn College for 21 years and now lives in Pennsylvania.
Top sale price: $1.87 million for "Untitled" (left) in May 2010.
3. Cady Noland
Change since 2000: +5,488%
Cady Noland's works have relied on collage and sculpture to explore themes such as fame and violence in America. Born in 1956, she was called by Vice Magazine in 2003 "one of the most brilliant, highly influential and endlessly ripped-off sculptors of the 80s/90s."
Top sale price: $6.6 million for "Oozewald" (left) in Nov. 2011.
2. Qi Baishi
Change since 2000: +5,534%
Qi Baishi is considered 20th century China's most popular painter. Born a peasant in 1864, he painted in a traditional Chinese style -- often images of small animals such as mice or shrimp -- despite having no formal training. He died in 1957. This month a series of Qi Baishi paintings were the top lot in a five-day, $263-million auction in Hong Kong dominated by Chinese mainland buyers.
Top sale price: $65.5 million for "Eagle Standing on Pine Tree" (left) in May 2011.
Change since 2000: +11,782%
Born Chang Yu in 1901 in China, Sanyu was one of the first Chinese artists to study in Paris when he moved there in 1921. Often called the "Chinese Matisse" for his colorful, modernist paintings, he died in Paris in 1966.
Top sale price: $16.5 million for "Five Nudes" (left) in May 2011.