For art market aficionados, it’s hard to imagine 2017 being remembered as anything other than “that time when someone bought a painting for $450 million.” The sale of ’s Salvator Mundi
for nearly half a billion dollars, despite some murmurs about its authenticity and hefty restoration, set a new global record. It came just a few months after Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa spent $110.4 million (all prices include fees unless otherwise noted) on a painting by
as the most expensive American artist at auction.
There were plenty of other big-ticket items sold at auction in 2017—enough of them, in fact, to signal that the world’s wealthiest are starting to feel more comfortable opening up their freeport storage units and trading eight- and nine-figure tchotchkes amongst themselves again, after a market dip in 2015 and a 2016 marked by complaints about a dearth of supply.