Growth of 1,800% in 19 years… and a price index up +22% last year… Contemporary art is now a global market on all five continents of the planet.
In 2000, the global Contemporary Art auction market turned over $103 million. In 2019 it hammered $1.9 billion.
Artprice by Art Market, founded and headed by Thierry Ehrmann, in collaboration with his Chinese institutional partner, Artron / AMMA (Art Market Monitor of Artron,) founded and headed by WAN Jie, has published its 22nd Annual Art Market Report.
The remarkable and perfectly matched increase in the three main growth indicators for the secondary market in Contemporary Art – global turnover, lots sold and the overall price index – clearly indicates a phase of extremely rapid sales growth over a 20-year period that has seen numerous unprecedented geopolitical, economic and financial crises.
The market's price index has just posted a 22% increase, which dwarfs the return on investment investors can expect on cash in a negative or near-zero interest rate environment that is eroding short-term savings and capital throughout the world.
As thierry Ehrmann, Founder/CEO of Artprice by Art Market, says, “For many art collectors, the art of collecting involves acquiring the right work by the right artist at the right moment. When these three ‘criteria' are clearly satisfied, the result is often a ‘historical transaction'. This was the case last week (3 October) when Sotheby's London offered Devolved Parliament by anonymous artist Banksy, fetching a stunning new record of €11.1 million. The piece is clearly a major work by an artist whose prices are rocketing… but it is also a painting that literally apes the British Parliament... and it was offered sale at a critical moment in Britain's history as the British parliament finds itself in an untenable position over Brexit.
In an age when singularity is increasingly reproved and censured, Contemporary Art represents one of the last bastions of free and individual expression. As the planet becomes increasingly digitized, it reminds us we are human and I am not surprised we now have over 120 million collectors, professionals and investors participating in its expansion.”
The FRIEZE London art fair kicks off the year a few weeks before the FIAC in Paris. Whatever the outcome of Brexit, London's museums, galleries and auction houses have demonstrated the strength of the London marketplace. The UK capital will continue to be an unavoidable hub because it can bring together the best of the Old Masters (this year, a rare Botticelli) with the hottest works on the Contemporary market like Banksy's Devolved Parliament which fetched $12 million (£9.9 million) at Sotheby's on 3 October 2019.
Artprice by Art Market's Contemporary Art Market Report – an indispensable tool for participants and attendants at the major autumn art fairs (Frieze and Fiac in particular) – is available free of charge at the following address:
The key features of Artprice by Art Market's Annual Contemporary Art Market Report:
The analysis of the global Contemporary Art Market presented in this report is based on results hammered at Fine Art public auction sales around the world. This analysis therefore concerns specifically paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings, photographs, prints, videos, and it excludes anonymous cultural objects and furniture.
It covers the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.
Contemporary artists are defined as those born after 1945.
All prices are given in US dollars and include buyer fees.
A mature and stable market (2018/19 vs. 2017/18)
Global auction turnover has doubled in 10 years, reaching $1.89 billion,
from $103 million in 2000 to $1.89 billion in 2019.
The global average unsold rate is perfectly stable at 39%
The overall price index for Contemporary Art is up 22% vs. the previous 12 months
Greater demand and higher sales (2018/19 vs. 2017/18)
Last year saw the highest ever number of Contemporary artworks sold worldwide: 71,400 lots, a figure that represents a 480% increase since 2000.
Artworks by 21,996 Contemporary artists sold at auction, twice the number 10 years ago.
The year generated 284 new Contemporary Art auction results above the million-dollar line.
Art by living artists is becoming more expensive (2018/19 vs. 2017/18)
The year 2018/19 saw 20,000 new auction records hammered, confirming the rising power of this global market.
It also saw the highest price ever paid for a work by a living artist: $91 million for Jeff Koons' Rabbit.
And… the second highest price ever paid for a work by a living artist: $90.3 million for David Hockney's Portrait of an Artist
Banksy came out as the leader of the print segment after Avon and Somerset Constabulary (ed.10) fetched $382,000.
Kaws reached $14.8 million for a work sold 15 times its high estimate in Hong Kong.
Geographical distribution of the Contemporary Art Market
The United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and China accounted for 89% of global Contemporary Art secondary market sales.
The United States and Asia accounted for 66% of global sales.
The UK market contracted to $435 million, down 20% on the previous year.
The top 3 European countries were France ($43.9 million), Germany ($21 million), Italy ($11.8 million) .
Excellent turnover in Hong Kong ($247.7 million), ahead of Beijing ($ 226.7 million).
Hong Kong now accounts for nearly 14% of global sales.
Japan ($20 million) ranked 7th in the world behind Germany.
Sharp contraction of the Singapore market: -64% ($655,000)
Public Auction Houses
Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips generated 70% of global Contemporary Art turnover from 10% of the Contemporary lots sold.
The three organisations accounted for 85 of the segment's top 100 auction results in 2018/2019.
Sotheby's was the world's strongest auctioneer on the Contemporary Art segment with turnover of $623 million (+17%).
Sotheby's – 32.9% of the global market ($623 million).
Christie's – 25.4% of the global market ($481 million).
Phillips – 11.9% of the global market ($225 million).
China Guardian ($73.5 million) is the leading Chinese auction operator.
French auction operators posted growth: Artcurial (+5%), Cornette de St-Cyr (+18%), Piasa (+67%).
Women in our global rankings
Only 4 women were among the top 100 Contemporary art auction results in 2018/19.
Only 12 women were among the top 100 Contemporary artists ranked by auction turnover in 2018/19.
Jenny Saville ($28.8 million) rose from 158th to 11th place in the top 500.
Julie Mehretu ($8.9 million) rose from 66th to 36th in the top 500.
Dana Schutz ($8 million) rose from 231st to 37th in the top 500.
Barbara Kruger ($3.7 million) rose from 157th to 70th in the top 500.
Tracey Emin ($4.4 million) rose from 126th to 58th in the top 500.
Artprice by Art Market's full 2019 Contemporary Art Market report is available free of charge at the following address:
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