Highlights from the art market in June: Record-Breaking Auctions, Art Basel Success, and Resilience in Turbulent Times

Posted on: July, 3, 2023
3 min hours

June 2023 saw several significant events and developments in the art market that captivated art enthusiasts and collectors alike. From record-breaking auctions to the success of renowned art fairs, the art world demonstrated its resilience amidst turbulent times.

The Last Klimt: Lady with a Fan Auction

One of the most anticipated events in June was the auction of Gustav Klimt’s final masterpiece, “Lady with a Fan,” held by Sotheby’s in London on June 27. Painted in 1917, just a year before the artist’s untimely death, the portrait represented a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire a work by the iconic Viennese artist. The estimated value of 76 million euros generated significant interest, and the final sale exceeded all expectations, reaching an astounding £85.3 million (equivalent to $108.39 million). This sale set a new record for the most expensive painting ever sold in Europe, surpassing the previous record held by Alberto Giacometti’s “Walking Man I.”

Gustav Klimt, Female Nude Lying with Scarf

Art Basel in Basel 2023 Success

The 2023 edition of Art Basel in Basel, held from June 15 to 18, proved to be a resounding success. The fair hosted 284 galleries from 36 countries and territories, attracting over 82,000 visitors – a notable increase compared to the previous year. Exhibitors presented standout displays, showcasing a diverse range of artworks and representing various artists. The Unlimited sector featured 76 large-scale installations and performances, while the Parcours sector showcased 24 site-specific installations across the city. The event’s positive atmosphere and consistently strong sales volumes reaffirmed its status as the premier international art fair.

Man Ray, L'Incompris or The Misundertood

Resilience in the American Art Market

Despite the complex global context, including the lingering effects of the Covid crisis, the war in Ukraine, energy crises, and rising costs of living, the American art market demonstrated its resilience. Between January 1 and May 15, 2023, the market continued to attract new collectors from mainland China, South Korea, and Africa. Additionally, the appearance of rare works on the American market led to new price peaks and sustained interest from both collectors and institutions.

Jackson Pollock, Expression No. 6


June 2023 showcased the art world’s ability to weather challenges and thrive amid changing circumstances. The auction of Gustav Klimt’s “Lady with a Fan” set a new benchmark in European sales, emphasizing the enduring appeal of masterpieces by iconic artists. Art Basel’s successful edition reaffirmed its significance as a leading global art fair, providing artists and galleries with a platform to showcase their works to an engaged international audience. Moreover, the resilience displayed by the American art market highlighted the importance of art as a safe haven and a driver of cultural and economic vitality, even in uncertain times. As the art market continues to evolve, these highlights serve as a testament to its vibrancy and enduring allure.


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