The art market was already in decline when the global financial system was sent into mayhem in September 2008, but the financial nightmare accelerated the drop. This past year has been pretty miserable for artists, galleries, dealers and collectors (who have seen their buying power dry up), but that doesn't mean there hasn't been anything to celebrate.
Several prominent pieces hit fantastic heights at auction this year. Some of the names will look familiar, including Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse and Alberto Giacometti. Old Masters and Asia are represented as well, as they have generally done best in resisting the forces of the art market recession.
Below, take a look at the top 10 pieces at auction in 2009.