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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

2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.