wealthiest living artistsMaking a fortune as an artist is not an easy feat.

But as this list shows, it can be done. There are very few artists that amass great riches in this lifetime, while the vast majority live below poverty level, or support themselves with other jobs.

Being one of the wealthiest artists in the world does not necessarily mean they are more popular or influential in the world of art – or even a better artist.



I truly believe that some of the best artists do not make near the amount of money that these do.


5 Richest Artists in the World Today

  1. Damien Hirst – 1 Billion

    For the Love of GodThe Sunday Times Rich List in 2009 stated that Damien Hirst had a net worth of £215m (350m US). Today, Damien Hirst is reported to be worth over $1 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS, making him the richest living artist ever!

    In 2007, his diamond encrusted scull For the Love of God, was valued at $100 million, and eventually sold for nearly $78 million. In 2008, his art auction at Sotheby's, London, England titled Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, sold out, netting him a record breaking $198 million.

    2012 began as a good year for Hirst. Tate Modern held a retrospective of his artwork and his own rendition of the Union Flag of Britain was used in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. 

    In regards to new work this past year, Damien Hirst had an exhibition of new still life paintings (Two Week, One Summer) at White Cube gallery in Bermondsey, London – which was met with negative reviews.

  2. Jeff Koons – 500 Million

    tulips koons balloonsJeff Koons is known for huge reproductions of banal things, such as balloon animal sculptures created from stainless steel. Today, Koons runs a studio factory and employs over 120 people.

    Just this past year, on Nov. 14, 2012, one of Jeff Koons’ pieces Tulips sold for a record $33.7 million U.S.

    Major Exhibitions in 2012:
    Jeff Koons, Beyeler Museum, Basel, Switzerland
    Jeff Koons - The Painter, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany
    Jeff Koons - The Sculptor, Liebieghaus, Frankfurt, Germany

  3. Jasper Johns – 300 Million

    Three Flags Jasper JohnsJasper Johns is an American artist who was born in Augusta, Georgia, whose most famous painting is Flag (1954–55). He is also known for sculpture and print artworks.

    For about the past 3 decades, Jasper Johns has only created about 4-5 paintings per year. Because of rarity, his paintings have been well sought after, and have fetched high prices among collectors.

    In 2011, Jasper Johns received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.

  4. David Choe – 200 Million

    David Chloe is an American graffiti artist, muralist, painter, and graphic novelist. He is partly known for his paintings on album covers, and on sets of certain movies (The Glass House and Juno). Most of his wealth did not come through these venues though, but from his association with Facebook.

    David Chloe was commissioned to paint murals in Facebook offices in 2005 and 2007, but chose to receive stock instead of payment. In 2012, his shares were worth $200 million! This catapulted him to a sudden position as one of the richest living artists, surpassing the likes of Takashi Murakami, Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley.

  5. Andre Vicari – 142 Million

    Andre Vicari La MarianneAndre Vicari is an artist born in Wales, and living in France. He has amassed most of his artist fortune by portrait commissions of rich and famous people. The Saudi Arabian government and King appointed him official painter in 1974. In 2001 Prince Khaled purchased a collection of paintings based on the first Gulf war for £17 million.




Other artists that trail close behind these as the wealthiest living artists are Takashi Murakami, Anish Kapoor, Gerhard Richter, David Hockney and Cindy Sherman.

What are your opinions about these artists?

What do you think it takes to become one of the richest living artists?

Post a Comment Blogger

  1. This is incredibly sad. Who among these artists actually has good artistic skills versus, skills in management and brand sales/sellout? I saw an interview with Damien Hirst the other day. He has no integirity as an artist, no concern that he even do any portion of the work himself.

  2. No Sea, not a great agent, A REALLY GREAT AGENT, and a good business plan.

  3. I don't know but as a natural born artist who has been making art for a long time...I personally have known artists who make much more interesting work and rarely, if ever sell, anything. I'm glad though that some artists make it big...just wish more could or would.

  4. I don't think art is about becoming rich, it is about touching the soul. And if that makes you rich, than that is an added benefit.

    1. It is great if art can be created just to touch the soul, but artists are people with rent, electricity and food bills and art supplies are not free.

  5. I don't think art is about becoming rich, it is about touching the soul. And if that makes you rich, then it is an added benefit.

  6. Making art as an artist is separate from making a living as an artist. They can and should be intertwined. Making art that satisfies the artist's soul is separate from art that touches the patron's/collector's soul. Again, they can and should be intertwined. The monetary value of a work of art, or the artist's input as consultant, is up to the patron and is influenced by how the artist values themselves. I look at this list as another way to celebrate and feature artists as a profession as well as a calling.

  7. And this to me is why those who are true artist,who would pour their hearts out in their work,only to habe it ridiculed and sneered at. Their are unknowns that I have had the pleasure of viewing their work,to have a much eye for color,and a love thats really deep for this field of work,whether born with the talent or taught. It seems to me that those who are born with the gift of capturing life in its beauty,have to be deceased in order for anything fame and notierity is given,and to hear of those living who are this rich,that it has a degree or two behind it. And money these days comes in,not on talent ,but on the heels of a degree claiming the paper artists' fame. And that fortune to me is unbalanced.

  8. I wrote the latest comment,and posted as anonymous.

  9. their work is nothing more than that of a monkey painting blind folded

  10. I suggest it does not mean an artist creates great art just because he or she has huge sums of money. Many here seem to have been at the right place, at the right time and got the right connections. Some were more aggressive in their behavior and art works. Most may have agents. Fame perhaps was more important than the art created. These are my guesses as am sure there are just as many better artistic works by other artists who barely make a living. Also, take note if you are an artist: Do some LARGE artworks. Become committed to a type or style. Be more aggressive in showing your art, meeting people with money and promoting....YOU! If no one sees your art how can you sell or become "rich" if that is what you really want.


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