Masters of their Craft: The World's Finest Artists

Written by Sarah Holt

On 15th November 2018 the record was set for the most expensive artwork by a living artist sold at auction. David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) was snapped up for $90.3 million at an auction in New York. The sale price was 5,000 times what the artist originally sold it for in 1972.

There’s no denying that artwork is an investment. However, art is arguably the most singular sort of status symbol, too. Whereas you can customise a car, plane or piece of jewellery to a certain degree, paintings are unique as a fingerprint.

With this in mind, here is a list of the world’s most sought after artists with a guide to where you can buy their works today.


David Hockney


Born in Bradford in northern England in 1937, David Hockney spans the genres of print, photography and paint with his artwork. It is impossible to untangle this artist’s name from the pop art movement of the 1960s and multiple commentators call him the most influential British artist of the 20th century.

Many of Hockney’s pieces portray human relationships. Some are abstract. Others question conventions. All are bright and thought provoking. Pieces of his work are currently on sale around the world including Artist and Model 1974 and Jungle Boy 1964. Prices are, of course, on request.

Jeff Koons


It was Jeff Koons that Hockney stole the record from when Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold in November. Koons’ Dog of Balloons (Orange) was previously the most expensive artwork by a living artist sold at auction.

Many of Koons’ works have a Wonderland quality to them. Think huge reflective balloon animal sculptures and basketballs in fish tanks. Some of his balloon dog sculptures are currently on sale in galleries such as Art Please in New York. Again, price is on request.

Gerhard Richter


In 2015 Richter’s an Abstract painting sold at Sotheby’s for £46.3 million. His collection of works includes abstract art, photorealistic paintings, photographs and glass pieces. Richter is a Marmite jar of an artist. Works such as Grey – a pure grey canvas designed to reflect the epitome of non-statement – have certainly caused controversy amongst critics in the past.

Today, though, the German-born artist is regarded as one of the most influential of the 20th century. Items from his collection are currently on sale at auction houses such as Phillips London with a typical mid-range price tag hovering around $89,000.

Jasper Johns


A collage of paper, encaustic oil, and fabric, Jasper Johns’ Flag netted $36 million at auction in 2014. That sort of price point is par for the course as far as his pieces are concerned. Born in America, Johns’ is said to have defined the artistic period between abstract expressionism and pop art.

Many of Johns’ works have a magic eye quality to them. What you see in many of his pieces, like 0 through 9 and Dancers on a Plane, changes between the first, second, third and fourth glance. Items from Johns’ collection are currently on sale at auction houses like Neumeister Münchener.

Christopher Wool


Christopher Wool has exhibited in locations such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. His most expensive piece, Riot, sold for $29.93 million in 2015.

His artworks hit you right between the eyes. Many of them feature words stencilled on white backgrounds that read ‘Hypocrite’ or ‘Celebrity’. Others feature ink blots or chaotic tangled lines. His pieces are currently on sale with Simon Lee art gallery in New York and prices are on request.

Peter Doig


Tate calls Peter Doig ‘one of the most renowned living figurative painters’. It is comments like this that push the prices of his art up to $28.81 million – this was the price that his painting Rosedale sold for in 2017.

Born in Scotland, Doig produces paintings that are diaristic in form, often capturing snapshots of contemporary existence on canvas. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Tate Gallery in London, and the Goetz Collection in Munich, among others.

Pieces of his work are also currently on sale through the likes of limited edition art dealers MLTPL Hamburg and Galerie Frank Fluegel in Nurnberg.

David Hockney image courtesy of The Rake. Jeff Koons image courtesy of Hurriyet Daily News. Gerhard Richter image courtesy of The Jakarta Post. Jasper Johns image courtesy of MoMA official website. Christopher Wool image courtesy of Galerie Max Hertzler official website. Peter Doig image courtesy of Linda Pitwood.