May 2023: A Buyer’s Market

May is famously the busiest month of the auction calendar year, and the results are now in for New York’s May auction season. Artscapy’s top collected artist’s are among some of the best performing at auction, despite the general stagnation of the art market in 2023. 

Over the two weeks of major sales across Bonhams, Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s, a total of $1.8M (with buyer's premiums) worth of art was sold. Although this is a significant figure, May 2023’s sum does mark a substantial drop in total compared to previous years. According to Artelligence, the May sales cycle in 2023 was down nearly $935M from 2022. Another notable figure from Artelligence shows that the average lot value this May was just over $1M, down from the $1.8M in May and November of 2022. This represents a 45% drop in average lot value this May, while the overall sell-through rate was very high at 85%. 

With low prices and high sell-through rates, the current state of the market is favourable for those collectors who plan to buy now and hold onto their artworks for the next five to ten years. 

The auction stand-outs from May have only reinforced our faith in the longevity of collector’s top artist markets at Artscapy. As the hype of the previous years has slowed down, the performance of these artists at auction have revealed a solid liquidity that will support future growth.

Let’s take a look at the auction highlights:  


David Hockney 

A total of 39 Hockney artworks sold via public auction this May. At Artscapy Hockney features in 10 of our listed collections, much loved by collectors who are certain about the longevity of this market. 

The top price paid for a Hockney artwork in May was £2.5M ($3.1M) for Drawing of a Pool and Towel at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction. The Sotheby’s sale was one of the most significant of the season, where Hockney’s work sold alongside Louise Bourgeois’s record-breaking Spider, for $32.8M, and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s, Now’s the Time, for $28.6M. 

The second most expensive Hockney sold in May was at Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale, where his Green Pool with Diving Board and Shadow (Paper Pool 3), sold for a total of £1.9M ($2.3M) on 12th May. 

According to Artelligence, Hockney now represents 2.84% of the overall market share by dollars spent on artworks via auction. This figure is consolidated by Art Basel & UBS’s 2023 report that notes Hockney as in the top three top-selling living artists.


Ed Ruscha 

Ruscha now represents 2.13% of the total market share by dollars spent on artworks via auction, according to Artelligence. This is unsurprising given that several of his works did extremely well this May at auction. 

At Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale, Rushca’s Burning Gas Station sold for an astonishing $22.3M on 11th May in New York. This work is now the artist’s fourth most expensive work to ever be sold at auction. 

Additionally, Ruscha’s Pattern of Lust sold for $1.6M at Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale on 12th May, and at Phillip’s 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, the artist’s Manual Mobility sold for a total of $3.4M on 17th May. 

As the Ruscha market remains strong, collectors with Artscapy have happily seen their wealth increase. Notably, Ruscha’s artworks feature in 2 of our online collections.



The top player on the street art market, Banksy is one of Artscapy’s most popular artists. It is by no coincidence that we currently have four artworks for sale on our platform, and that his work features in 75 of our online collections by collectors. Our collectors are serious about the longevity of Banksy artworks that continue to increase in value over time.

Currently, the Banksy market is one of the best buyer’s markets. While his performance at auction with star original works and media attention remains high, Banksy artworks on the secondary market over the last year have fallen for the first time since becoming an international phenomenon, which offers collectors with a five to ten year horizon with an excellent opportunity to buy.

Unsurprisingly, at Artscapy 19% of our site views are Banksy and he is one of the top most valued artists on our site. 

At auction this month, Banksy’s stand out sale was at Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 17th May, where his famous Banksquiat. Boy and Dog in Stop and Search sold for a grand total of £7.8M ($9.7M).

This is a significant record for Banksy, making it the sixth most expensive work ever sold via auction by the artist. 


Roy Lichtenstein 

Another top performer at auction this month was the American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, who sold 48 artworks via auction this May. The top sale of this month for Lichtenstein was for Rouen Cathedral, Set IV that sold for a total of £12.3M ($15.4M) at Christie’s Masterpieces from the S.I. Newhouse Collection sale on 11th May. Lichtenstein features in two of Artscapy’s collections, indicating the continued faith that collectors have in this market that has performed so well at auction this month.

While total auction sales in 2023 remain stagnant, and May’s sales are slightly down from 2022, Artscapy’s top artists are continuing to perform well in an auction environment of high sell-through rates and lowering prices. We present a roster of the best artists and artworks available to ensure our collectors get access to the artists that are favourable to buy now.

Just some of these artists include Banksy, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha and more.

If you would like to discuss any of these artists and the works we have available book a call with an advisor.

*All prices in this article include the buyer’s premium unless otherwise stated.




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