There are thousands of contemporary artists throughout the world but only three dozens are today the stars of the art market.
There is therefore no need to be a real connoisseur regarding this domain once most of the names of the big "shots" are known.
Here is the list of some of the most important artists, those who generally fetch incredible prices at auction.
Carl Andre (American) (Born in 1935) who studied briefly at Kenyon College before travelling to Europe. Upon his return he enlisted in the Army as an intelligence analyst between 1955 and 1956. He began his first work on paper in 1958 as well as large geometric wood sculptures. In the mid-Sixties, he began creating his signature Minimalist sculptures composed of flat metal, square tiles that extend in rectangular forms across the floor. He participated in the 1968 Documenta, the 1973 Whitney Biennial and the 1978 Venice Biennale. Andre has been the focus of solo exhibitions at the Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Art Institute of Chicago, Whitechapel Gallery, London, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, and Krefeld Haus Lange and Haus Esters, Germany. He lives and works in New York. His wood sculptures sell often over $ 100,000.
Janine Antoni (Born in the Bahamas in 1964) who studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. Antoni's feminist concern for the cultural construction of sexuality and gender is combined with highly personal and performative art-making processes. She was recently the subject of solo exhibitions at the High Museum, Atlanta, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Connecticut, the Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 1993 she participated in the Whitney Biennial and Venice Biennale. She lives and works in New York and her works are rated between $ 50,000 and 205,000. Her 1992 installation consisting of 600 pounds of chocolate before biting and 600 pounds of lard before biting, 45 heart shaped packages made from chewed chocolate, 400 lipsticks made from pigment, beeswax and chewed lard in a display cabinet sold for a record $ 204,000 at Christie's on May 16th 2000 in New York.
Stephen Balkenhol (German) (Born in 1957) who moved to Luxembourg in 1963 when his father died, and spent his teenage years living in Kassel where "Documenta" was hosted every year. In 1971 he began experimenting with sculpture, making collages and assemblages in the Dadaist tradition, and was especially influenced by figurative work. In 1973 he began to carve wood sculptures of human heads and then made wood sculptures of full-length nude figures and figures depicted in clothes. His first solo exhibition was held in 1993 at Regen projects, Los Angeles. He currently lives in Meisenthal.
His works sell between $ 25,000 and 100,000.