Artnet's second Intelligence Report is out, examining global art sales at auction.

Expand chart
Data: Artnet; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

By the numbers: A recent paper from Marshall Ma, Charles N. Noussair and Luc Renneboog looked at the prices fetched at auction by paintings of different colors. The average hammer price was $504,349, but if a painting had a 1 standard deviation increase in the percentage of blue hue on the canvas, the price went up by 10.6%.

  • Street art is having a moment: KAWS, the most successful of the current generation of street artists, saw his work gross more than $30m at auction in 2018.
  • The broader auction market is flat, with $14.7 billion of sales overall.
  • The top-10 list of the most expensive artworks sold last year by artists born after 1945 is dominated by African-Americans. The top 3 spots (and 6 of the top 10) go to Jean-Michel Basquiat. Kerry James Marshall's "Past Times," which sold to Diddy for $21 million, comes in at number 5 on the list, beating everybody except for Basquiat and Jeff Koons.
  • Overall, Basquiat sold $254 million of art at auction in 2018 — beating out Andy Warhol, on $244 million. Picasso trounced them both, however, with an auction total of $747 million. The top-grossing woman was Yayoi Kusama, on $109 million. The top-grossing living artist was David Hockney, on $206 million.

Go deeper

Investors are ignoring the coronavirus pandemic by buying stocks and gold

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. economic data is crumbling as increasing coronavirus cases keep consumers at home and force more cities and states to restrict commerce, but the stock market has continued to rise.

What's happening: Bullish fund managers are starting to lay down bets that it will be this way for a while. "The reason is: You have monetary and fiscal policy pushing the economy out of a problem and that is very, very bullish," Andrew Slimmon, senior portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, tells Axios.

How Trump's push to reopen schools could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Trump administration’s full-steam-ahead push to fully reopen schools this fall is on a collision course with the U.S.' skyrocketing coronavirus caseload and its decades-long neglect of public education.

Why it matters: Getting kids back to school is of paramount importance for children and families, especially low-income ones. But the administration isn’t doing much to make this safer or more feasible.

Coronavirus squeezes the "sandwich generation"

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As the coronavirus poses risks and concerns for the youngest and oldest Americans, the generations in the middle are buckling under the increasing strain of having to take care of both.

Why it matters: People that make up the so-called sandwich generations are typically in their 30s, 40s and 50s, and in their prime working years. The increasing family and financial pressures on these workers means complications for employers, too.