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These Five Paintings Shattered Auction Records in the Last 12 Months

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On Nov. 15, an anonymous buyer paid a hair over $90 million for David Hockney‘s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” — a record auction price for a work by a living artist. But Hockney’s not the only artist whose oeuvre is getting expensive.

The last 12 months have seen unprecedented sums being paid for a range of works, especially contemporary ones. That’s not to say genuine old masters aren’t doing well, just that they’re in short supply; a Leonardo DaVinci work with a provenance that had been thought to be shaky set a record for any painting ever sold at auction around this time in 2017 when it sold for $450 million.

Here are five paintings that set records this year.

A woman looks at David Hockneys "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" during a press preview on September 13, 2018 at Christie's New York. - The painting is to be auctioned during Christie's November 2018 Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art. Christie's expects the painting to sell for 80 million USD, making the work the most valuable piece of art by a living artist ever sold at auction.
A woman looks at David Hockney's "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" during a press preview on Sept. 13, 2018 at Christie's New York. Timothy A. Clary—AFP/Getty Images
Napoli Opening Exhibition at Diocesan Museum of Donnaregina with "Salvator Mundi" by Leonardo Da Vinci from 12 January to 31 March. Other works of Leonardo's school in the exhibition, including: Christ Blessing of San Domenico Maggiore di Girolamo Alibrandi, Christ Child of Gian Giacomo Caprotti said Salaì. The inauguration was attended by Vincenzo De Luca Governor of the Campania Region, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe and Professor Carlo Pedretti author of the study that attributes the work to Leonardo Da Vinci on January 11, 2017 in Naples, Italy.
"Salvator Mundi" (Savior of the World), the last of Leonardo Da Vinci's works in private hands, sold for $450 million on Nov. 15, 2017. In 1958, before it was proved to be a DaVinci, the same painting changed hands for 45 British pounds. Ivan Romano—Getty Images
Oliver Barker, Chairman of Sotheby's Europe, fields bids for Jenny SavilleÕs 1992 painting 'Propped', the work that propelled her to international acclaim at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Sotheby's on October 5, 2018 in London, England. The painting sold tonight at SothebyÕs in London for £9.5m / $12.4 million / Û10.8 million, setting a new auction record for a work by a living female artist. The painting was part of the collection of David Teiger, visionary collector and patron of the arts. Proceeds from this and from other works from his collection will benefit the Teiger Foundation, soon to be one of the worldÕs largest and most significant contemporary art foundations.
On Oct. 5, Jenny Saville's 1992 painting 'Propped,' the work that propelled her to international acclaim, sold for $12.4 million, a record for a living female artist. Tristan Fewings—Getty Images for Sotheby's
"The Rivals" by Diego Rivera is seen during a Christie's preview presenting the collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, in New York on April 27, 2018. - A Diego Rivera painting set a record the evening of May 9, 2018 for the highest price paid at auction for a Latin American artwork, fetching $9.76 million and taking the honor away from his partner Frida Kahlo.The colorful painting entitled "Los Rivales" (The Rivals) and sold by Christie's depicts two men at a traditional Mexican celebration.
"Los Rivales" (The Rivals) by Diego Rivera fetched $9.76 million on May 5, the highest price paid at auction for a Latin American artwork. The previous record-holder was Rivera's wife, Frida Kahlo. Hector Retamal—AFP/Getty Images
"Past Times" by Kerry James Marshall at Sotheby's May Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art, in New York, on May 4, 2018. - In this exhibition there are paintings by Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and other artists, and the auction will be held on May 16, 2018.
The rapper and impresario P. Diddy paid $21.1 million for "Past Times" by Kerry James Marshall on May 16. That's the highest price ever for a work by a living African American artist.Hector Retamal—AFP/Getty Images

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