New figures released by art market analysts Artprice reveal that Pablo Picasso dominated last year's auction sales, netting a total $121m in sales.
Just behind him was Andy Warhol, the second most lucrative artist helping the art markets weather the recession in 2009.
Third place, however, is a little less obvious: the classical-modern works of Qi Baishi, considered the most accessible 20th century Chinese master.
Baishi's 2009 sales were reportedly $70m.
According to analysts, the artist's success has been bolstered by Asia's increasingly influential and confident financial elite.
Sales of Baishi's work directly correspond with China's growing share of the overall market - 17% up from 4% in 2005.
After proving themselves as a major force in the fine wines and stamps markets, Artprice's figures suggest that Asia's collectors and investors could also bring a bright future for art.