New figures released on Tuesday claim that the contemporary art market experienced a record-breaking year in 2013/14, smashing through the $2 billion mark for the first time.
US artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died in 1988, Jeff Koons and Christopher Wool remain the market's biggest stars accounting for sales at auction of 339 million euros ($436 million), according to Artprice, a Paris-based organisation which keeps the world's biggest database on the contemporary art market.
In the year from July 2013, sales of contemporary art at public auctions reached $2.046 billion dollars, up 40 percent on the previous year, Artprice's annual report said
Thirteen pieces alone fetched more than 10 million euros ($12.8 million) each, compared with four in the previous year.
Pop artist Koons, the subject of a major retrospective due to be held at Paris's Pompidou Centre at the end of November, currently holds the record for the most expensive work of art by a living artist ever sold at auction.
His "Balloon Dog" went under the hammer in November 2013 at Christie's in New York, for a record $58.4 million.
The rest of Artprice's top ten is made up -- in order -- of Zeng Fanzhi (China), Peter Doig (Britain), Richard Prince (US), Martin Kippenberger (Germany) who died in 1997, and three more Chinese artists -- Luo Zhongli, Chen Yifei and Zhan Xiaogang.
Fanzhi's 2001 painting "The Last Supper" was sold at auction in Hong Kong last year for $23 million.
Despite the presence of Basquiat and Kippenberger in Artprice's top rankings, the body's president and founder Thierry Ehrmann told AFP "the old adage that 'a good artist is a dead artist' was changing".
"For the first time, young artists voluntarily want to start on the second market," he said referring to auctions, as opposed to galleries, which are known in the art world as the first market.
"It's a real revolution. The two markets are in the process of merging."
Of the three top-selling contemporary artists, defined as artists born after 1945, Basquiat maintained his lead in 2013/14 with sales worth around 162 million euros while Koons and Wool clocked up 115 million euros and 61 million euros ($78 million) respectively.
If US artists remained ahead on individual sales, China has overtaken the US in terms of overall market share.
China now has 40 percent of the world market with sales worth $811 million compared to $752 million for the US.