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Artprice's Global Art Market Annual Report for 2015: with constant price growth, the art market represents a veritable alternative to financial markets. USA recovers top position From China
In 2015, the United States recovered its leading position on the global art auction market after losing it to China for five years. China still has by far the strongest market for Old Master art in the world. In the global competition for cultural influence, art represents a key factor in what is nowadays referred to as Soft Power, and in a number of countries, this power is actively pursued (e.g. the United States, China and, on another scale, Qatar).
So this is the macro and micro-economic basis of today's Art Market: a market that has emerged for the last 16 years as a safe haven against economic and financial instability, with substantial and recurring returns.
Against a backdrop of negative interest rates and contracting stock markets, the Art Market looks remarkably healthy with its Contemporary segment alone posting a 1,200% progression of annual turnover over the past 16 years and a +43% linear progression of the average value of an artwork. These returns are not limited to star signatures; in fact our data shows that works valued at above $20,000 already generate significant annual yields of 9%.
The Art Market is an efficient, historical and global market whose ability to withstand economic and geopolitical crises is well established.
Art prices keep changing scale. Topping at around the $10 million threshold in the 1980s and then reaching the $100 million bar in the 2000s, the New York Times reported the sale of a Gauguin painting to a Qatari buyer for over $300 million (NYT, 5 February 2015). Artprice believes it will not be long before the billion-dollar threshold is crossed.
In 2016 the Art Market has already demonstrated that it has moved into a higher gear after a private sale organised by Christie's generated $500 million, including $200 million for a Jackson Pollock canvas and $300 million for a painting by Willem de Kooning, equalling last year's Gauguin record.
The Art Auction Market: Art Market News / Three works fetched over $100 million / Key Figures / The Chinese Art Market / Leading marketplaces and geostrategic competition...
Download now: Artprice's Global Art Market Annual Report for 2015 >>>
Artprice - your insight into the art market
The art market’s primary marketplaces:
New York - the Mecca of Contemporary art
The United States has recovered its leader position on the global Contemporary art market, resuscitating the fierce competition with China. In total the United States generated $650 million from Contemporary art, nearly $90 million more than China. This strong performance was essentially driven by New York, the global capital of the art market. New York is home to the biggest art collectors, the most powerful galleries and the most prestigious museums. It also has the strongest networks, allowing the fastest emergence of young artists in the world.
China slows, but remains potent
The contraction of the Chinese Contemporary art market (-36.9%), with turnover of $542 million versus $860 million the previous year, is indeed substantial. However the slowdown seems to have been largely triggered by a combination of exogenous factors, first among which is undoubtedly the drastic anti-corruption drive initiated by President Xi Jinping which temporarily paralysed the country’s luxury goods sectors and its art market. In the absence of clear legal definitions, a large section of the PRC’s wealthy population has temporarily refrained from making “extravagant” acquisitions. At the same time, the contraction of the Chinese art market has a number of similarities with the recent evolution of Chinese stock markets and it has mirrored a sharp slowdown in China’s economic growth that reached its lowest level in 25 years at end-2014. In short, economic reality has inevitably had an impact on the country’s art market. However, it is also valid to consider the slowdown as a natural adjustment to the phenomenal growth by the Chinese art market in recent years.
Europe’s turnover largely dependent on London
European artists are well represented on the global auction market. Generating a quarter of global Contemporary art auction turnover, they account for a larger share than Chinese artists. After the Americans and the Chinese, the best performing nationalities on the Contemporary art auction market are the Germans (10.8% of the market), followed by the British (10.7%), the Italians (2.6%), the Japanese (2%), the Indians (1.5%), the Swiss (0.9%), the Brazilians (0.8%) and the French (0.8%).
The Contemporary Art Auction Market: Key Figures / Career Paths / Major Prizes / Focus on the Art Photography Market...
Download now: The complete Contemporary Art Market Report 2015 >>>
Artprice: the 2013/2014 Contemporary Art Market Report is now online
thierry Ehrmann, the CEO and founder of Artprice: Artprice.com is pleased to present its eighth exclusive report on the contemporary art market.
Download it now on Artprice for free:
It contains original rankings, such as the Top 500 contemporary artists according to turnover.
Artprice permanently enriches its databanks with information from 4,500 auctioneers and it publishes a constant flow of art market trends for the world's principal news agencies and approximately 6,300 international press publications.
Record-breaking year for the Contemporary Art market, with revenues smashing the US$2 billion mark (July 2013 - July 2014).
The 2013-2014 period for the contemporary art sector has never been so competitive or speculative with a record set by Jeff Koons' contemporary work of art sold €38.8 million, a record number of auction sales reaching the million dollar/euro threshold and a record auction turnover for a Post-War and Contemporary Art sale.
In four short years, the global turnover achieved in the sale room, irrespective of period, has almost doubled since the slowdown of 2009/2010: a period that registered a price drop of 48%.
Affluence has not been slow to return, buoyed up by a market structure that has changed significantly in many respects, including the increased globalisation and dematerialisation of sales. The galloping speculation of the period between 2004 and 2007 is once more to the fore and the contemporary market is more affluent than during the micro-bubble of 2007: a year of rocketing prices, with revenues for the year up by 50% for a similar number of works sold.
A new peak was achieved this year – the best in the history of contemporary art at auction in terms of auction turnover, price rises and record bids.
The price index of artists born after 1945 has followed the trend, reaching unprecedented heights and even topping the levels attained at the height of 2007 by 15%. All in all, the global index of contemporary art prices has risen by over 70% over the decade.
The art business is flourishing in a bubble that never bursts, and in continuing growth as regards works at the very top end of the market. This year, the high-end market acclaimed 13 contemporary works with prices of over €10 million, and designated the most expensive work in the world: a giant Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons, sold for over €38.8 million.
The most speculative names in art - considered safe investments by some despite the sector's volatility and wild fluctuations in price - are driven by powerful trendsetting gallery networks, curators and purchasing consultants, and by various leading players in the art market, of which the leading auction houses form an integral part.
Prosperity depends simultaneously on tried-and-tested mechanisms and the voracious appetite of investors bidding from all over the world. The contemporary art market has become an economic UFO with the globalisation of demand, which involves the arrival of extremely rich investors en masse.
Attracted by the diversification of investment and exceptional yield rates, demand has increased substantially, meaning that five times more works are sold today than 10 years ago, at price levels that bear no comparison.
A PDF version of the Artprice Contemporary Art Market Report is downloadable from Artprice.com in French and English. The German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese versions are also available.
Download the complete Contemporary Art Market 2014 >>>
Artprice: The Art Market 2013 +15 % Best year ever
As Artprice had sensed, and indeed written, during 2013, this was indeed the best year ever recorded in auction history (over $12 billion), and the best sale ever for Christie's in its 247 year-old history ? achieved in addition for post-war and contemporary art, with an absolute record for a hammer price: $127 million. This went to a work by the British artist Francis Bacon. 2013 was marked by nearly 15,000 new records for artists, and over 23,000 if first bids are included.
This splendid year was shored up by a globalised demand, particularly with buyers from Asia, the Middle East and Russia, who played a crucial role in the market's fine performance, and displayed a voracious appetite for flagship artists of the 20th century, landing them in a spate of records.
Artprice.com has been the world leader in art market information since 1987. Each year, it analyses auction results throughout the world, together with variations in the market, quoted values and price indexes for artists and works, and the forces involved in this specific market. It also examines the various cultural sensibilities and the intrinsic relationship between art and money, which produces much covetousness, and a few disappointments as well.
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Artprice : The Art Market 2012 - a dialogue between East and West
For this study of the global art market in 2012, Artprice has formed an alliance with Artron, the leading information service on the art market in China within the Greater Asia region, in order to provide the best possible overview of the art auction market.
For years, Artprice has taken the utmost interest in collecting the data of the Asian art market and more especially the Chinese market. However, Artprice was missing a key element: the cultural and sociologic analysis that key actor Art Market Monitor of Artron (AMMA) only could provide, according to Thierry Ehrmann, the founder and CEO of Artprice. With the art market now bipolar, entering into a dialogue between East and West has enabled us to come to an unprecedented cross-cultural analysis of the market.
In fact, we are analysing a bipolar art market that has grown in China and the West and at different speeds in different cultural terrains and according to different standards. In comparison with 2011 figures, released by Artprice in its annual report, those of 2012, co-released by Artprice and Artron, show an increase by 6.1%.
There has of course been a globalisation effect due to the dematerialisation of the art market through the Internet and the nomadic nature of collectors. And of course it is clear that bridges have been built between East and West and that the creation, supply and demand of art sometimes overlap at certain points. But we cannot say that art has become totally homogeneous. On the contrary, the art market exacerbates cultural differences by reflecting the gamut of artistic choices. Chinese collectors are not inclined to buy a Western piece of art that they find is too far removed from their cultural parameters. Instead, they prefer traditional styles, ancient calligraphy and, more recently, contemporary “experimental” ink art. Likewise, Western collectors mainly buy the works of artists who speak their language, including some Asian artists who have assimilated Western art history.
So the idea of a globalised art market should be taken with a pinch of salt. In any case, it is a little premature for Western and Chinese readers to be finding their bearings in an analysis of the global art market that is bent on combining information from East and West at all costs. In order to provide a clear and transparent analysis for our entire global readership, this year our report is made up of an introduction that covers the results of art sales around the world in 2012, followed by two distinct chapters. The first of these concentrates exclusively on the art market in the West and Artprice data, while the second focuses on art in China and Artron data. This fertile relationship between Artprice and Artron has led us both to examine our areas of overlap and divergence and to look at the way a new geopolitics is evolving in the art market of the 21st century.
For the past ten year, Artprice has published its exclusive annual art market report – available in 6 languages –, which is distributed to over 6,300 media organisations and international institutions every year. Based on 6.3 million auction results from 4,500 auction houses around the world, the report contains macro- and micro-economic analyses providing the keys to understanding the annual evolution of the global auction market. It discusses the major trends in the market, analysed throughout the year on the ArtMarketInsight page of our website, by the Artprice press agency and jointly by the Artprice and the Art Market Monitor of Artron Econometrics Department. To complement this objective appreciation of the art market based on a year of global auction results, Artprice and the Art Market Monitor of Artron also offer numerous original rankings such as the Top 500 artists by auction revenue and the Top 100 auction results of the year.
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A high-end market unaffected by the crisis
|With the subprime crisis giving way to the debt crisis, the economic record for
2011 was particularly bad in the Western world, marked by colossal debt ratios in
Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the UK, a destabilization of European monetary
union and swelling public debt in the USA. The downgrade of the USA by
Standard & Poor’s this year broke a taboo marking the end of the chapter representing
the American model since 1945. The debt crisis and subsequent austerity
policies have had catastrophic repercussions. After the summer, the recession in
Europe led to the amputation of cultural budgets and subsidies. In the UK for
example, cultural resources were cut by 30% between 2010 and September 2011.
Naturally, this unhealthy climate has resulted in collateral damage on the art
market. Many galleries have suffered in Europe and some have closed shop. More
generally, the art market has experienced a massive crisis of confidence following
the meltdown of financial indicators. Between late July and the end of September,
while the S&P 500 announced drastic falls (loss of 17% between July 21 and
August 22, then -5% in September), Artprice’s Art Market Confidence Index
(AMCI) fell below zero for the first time since the first quarter of 2009. Concern
over financial and economic developments upset confidence in the resilience of the
art market. However, the anxiety only needed one strong signal from the market
to be subdued, and confidence returned in October thanks to the success of the
major Contemporary Art fairs (Frieze in London and FIAC in Paris) and, above
all, after some stunning auctions results in the second half of the year.
The debt crisis coupled with the turmoil on financial markets has driven numerous
investors to fall back on art which has once again played its historical role as
a value haven1.
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2011
© 2012 artprice.com
China: the new global leader
|An electroshock in the history of the global art market! China is now the world leader in Fine Art auction sales and four Chinese artists are among the most sought-after artists in the world at the very top of the artists' ranking by annual auction revenue for Fine Art (prints, photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations).
To reverse the polarity of the global art market from West to East, China has done without artifices such as art gallery figures (a more opaque private market than the public auction market) or even furniture or traditional Chinese art objects (the prices of which are shooting up worldwide).
With a Fine Art annual revenue total of $3 billion in 2010, China overtook the United States, which now finds itself in second position with 30% of global revenue. The UK was third with a global share of 19% from revenue of $1.8 billion and France was fourth with $475m, i.e. a 5% share vs. 13.9% in 2009.
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2010
© 2011 artprice.com
United States / UK / China / France: the fight for market supremacy
|The market purge substantially diminished
With $1.3 billion in
2009, the United States was still the leading
market place for Fine Art sales despite
generating 55% less than in 2008. The UK
maintained its second place with a revenue
total of $1 billion, down 65% versus the previous
The contraction of the Anglo-American
markets (which nevertheless accounted for
49% of global auction sales) was largely a result
of the slower pace adopted by Christie's
and Sotheby's. The number of works offered
by the two market leaders was cut by 34%
and 47% respectively compared with 2007.
This volume reduction had a direct impact
on their revenue totals: Christie's totalled
57% less than in 2007 and Sotheby's lost
60% of its annual revenue total. Together,
the two market giants generated 60% of total
global revenue from just 10% of total global
transactions. However, this fi gure was
down compared to 2008 when the two giants
accounted for 72.3% of global revenue
from 15% of global Fine Art transactions.
In contrast, China's auction revenue rose
by a substantial 25% in 2009 (to $830m).
Hence, the world's no.3 marketplace expanded
while the UK and the USA both
contracted. China is now just $170m behind
the UK and today represents 17.4% of global Fine Art auction revenue vs 7.7% in
2008. France, the world's fourth largest marketplace,
posted a 31% increase on the back
of the Pierre Bergé/Yves Saint Laurent sale
which generated 40% of its annual revenue
from Fine Art ($265m of the $665m total
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2009
© 2010 artprice.com
Volatility of contemporary art prices
While the 1991 crisis made auction sales considerably more difficult, that of 2008 implies a greater
degree of selectivity on the hottest segments of the market: Post-war and Contemporary art, particularly
on the so-called «emerging» Asian markets. Th e new generation of collectors has invested
en masse in contemporary artists with whom they feel most in sync, but they have also focused
much of their cash on the most speculative signatures of the moment.
This phenomenon is reflected in our ranking of the Top 10 artists of 2008 with two living artists
parading alongside the world's biggest revenue earners: Damien
Hirst and Gerhardt
Richter. In 2008, Post-war art (i.e. by artists born between 1920 and 1944) and Contemporary
art (artists born after 1945) represented 32.3% of global Fine Art transactions and close to 35% of
global art auction revenue. In fact, during the year, the most recent art was more likely to fetch six
figure bids: whereas 3% to 3.3% of transactions in the combined segments of Post- War, Modern and Contemporary
art fetched over $100,000, this ratio rises to 6.5% in the Contemporary segment alone. The same proportion
of Old Masters also fetched over $100,000; but the overall number of lots was substantially smaller
(20,000 vs. 50,000 in the Contemporary segment). As the most volatile sector of the market, Contemporary
art is the first to suffer from the crisis and it has already seen some very sharp price adjustments:
Artprice's global art price index shows that Contemporary art works lost 34.4% of their value in
2008 the sharpest contraction of all the segments back-pedalling 2 years of speculation
to 2006 levels.
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2008
© 2009 artprice.com
|China moves up to the number 3 position in the global art market
In geographical terms, France traditionally takes third place in the global art revenue ranking behind
the United States and the UK. However, in 2007 it was relegated to fourth position by China where annual
revenue, boosted by the major international auction companies, reached a higher level than in France.
In 2007, the Chinese market generated no less than 75 sales above the million-dollar line with a top
price of HKD 66 million (USD 8.5 million) for a work by Cai Guoqiang - an absolute record for a work
of Chinese Contemporary art - followed by two Modern artists, XU Beihong (HKD 64 million) and ChHen Chengbo
(HKD 45 million). Henceforward, sustained by rapidly growing domestic demand and rising star artists
commanding rocketing prices, China is capable of competing with New York and London on sales of Fine
Art, frequently generating revenue figures reaching into 8 figures. And last year, the most prestigious
sales were not the exclusive privilege of Sotheby's and Christie's...
The Chinese art boom is also reflected in the number of auction houses and the volumes negotiated.
China's arrival as a major player in the art world has proved even more spectacular on the particularly
buoyant and highly competitive Contemporary art segment. In 2007, 36 Chinese artists featured in the
Artprice index for the top 100 Contemporary artists by sales revenues, with in second place, ahead of
Jeff Koons, the extraordinary Zhang Xiaogang.
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2007
© 2008 artprice.com
Art Market players
| Christie's & Sotheby's: who rules the global art market?
Every year, in New York and London, the prestigious Impressionist and Modern Art evening sales or
Contemporary Art sales at Sotheby's and Christie's are the high points of the global auction
season. They are always a great spectacle, boasting catalogues stuffed with the market's most exceptional
pieces. Between them, these two auction houses now virtually monopolise sales of a million dollars and
over. In 2006, of the 810 million-plus lots sold, 81 went under the hammer at these two leading venues.
In the current growth phase, competition between Sotheby's and Christie's is having a dynamising
impact on the wider market. Of the 9,200 fi ne art auctions recorded by Artprice in 2006, the big two
hosted 842. This is 80 more than in 2004. But, despite having just 9.15% of total auction numbers, Sotheby's
and Christie's handled 76% of the global fi ne art market's turnover. The average price of
lots sold at the two market leaders, who arrange the most prestigious sales, was $ 91,805. This compares
to an average at all other auctions houses of just $ 7,156.
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2006
© 2007 artprice.com
The popular segments of the market
|The market's structure is evolving as the contemporary art and photography segments
are becoming more popular than other market sectors.
Thus, the contribution of living artists to Fine Art auction sales jumped from 7.9% in 2000 to 17.6%
in 2005. Prices in this segment (in dollar terms) climbed 12.5% in 2005 compared with 8.2% for Modern
Art, -2.4% for 19th century paintings and 8.7% for Old Masters works. Furthermore, on 12 May 2005, Christie's
set a new record for a contemporary art auction by generating $ 31.7 million over and beyond its 2004
record of $ 102 million. And it only took 65 lots to attain this result! The auction owes its success
to the strong interest among buyers in the major post-war works on offer. The most expensive lot was
Edward Hopper's painting, Chair Car, (1965) which fetched $ 12.5 million. Close on its tracks was
Willem de Kooning's Sail Cloth which sold for $ 11.7 and thirdly a 1964 work by Mark Rothko which
went for $ 9 million. The photography segment is now extremely popular among collectors. In 2000 this
sector only accounted for 3.4% of sales in volume terms, and $ 50 million (1.7%
of the market) in value terms. The segment has become very important with an annual turnover of more
than $ 93 million. In October 2005, photography works in New York had never been so lucrative. In seven
auctions, Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips together made $ 28.9 million in turnover. They
also set an increasing number of records, the highest for the portfolios of Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952):
The North American Indian fetched an impressive $ 1.2 million, thereby doubling its high estimations.
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2005
© 2006 artprice.com
| Investment in the art market requires a knowledge of the markets for individual artists,
but also of the associated investment risk. As with the stock markets, this is not insignificant. However,
the art market is considerably less volatile. For example, from 1 January 1997 to 1 June 2004, the average
quarterly fluctuation in the Artprice Global Index was two to three times smaller than the same statistic
for the Dow Jones IA and the S&P 500. The art market is far less sensitive to economic crises and
geopolitical events than other assets. Art prices held up well in the wake of the 11 September terrorist
attacks and the Iraq war: our index contracted only 1.2% in the third quarter of 2001, and, in the first
six months of 2003, it rose 7%.
As with stock markets, the art market contracts in times of uncertainty. The annual volume of art works
sold at auction dropped 36% between 2000 and 2003. While stock markets tend to price in the slightest
concerns investors may have, there is no automatic correlated reaction on the art market. In effect,
rather than compromise on price, buyers and sellers of works of art become far more selective. At auctions,
this translates into a higher bought-in rate: between 2000 and 2003 the bought-in rate rose by 9%. The
quality of the works bought and sold guarantees the return on investment, while the lower sales volume
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2004
© 2005 artprice.com
Art Market Places
New York remains the largest market
With turnover of $ 1,322 million for some 30,000 lots sold, the United States dominated the art market
once again in 2004. US auction houses accounted for 46.5% of the global fine art market compared with
42% in 2003, and total turnover generated in the United States rose 45% in one year.
A number of factors contributed to this substantial rise: an increase in sales volume (+15%), a dramatic
cumulative rise in prices (+18.5% on the New York market) and the
growing number of lots sold for over a million dollars (229 works in New York, compared with 132 in
2003). Intense competition among the leading auction houses enhanced further the quality of works that
changed hands in 2004, with New York benefiting the most from this race for the finest pieces. The Big
Apple is by far the best market for selling works in the seven-figure range. Underlying this dynamic
increase is a combination of factors: the inevitable wider accessibility of the art market, resumed
growth on the financial markets, the dollar's depreciation and the search for alternative investments.
While an investment of $ 100 in the US art market in 1994 yielded 60% in 2004, it was a completely different
story in France: an art investment of € 100 only yielded on average 2% in 10 years.
The changing face of the European market
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2004
© 2005 artprice.com
Art market cycles
|The international auction calendar is the main driver of the art market cycle. The heart
of the market shifts week by week, largely in line with what auctions are coming up on the three leading
markets in France, the US and the UK.
Each year the auction houses shut up shop over Christmas and New Year. Business picks up again in New
York first, with 2,500 to 3,000 lots on offer in the second half of January. London then brings the hammer
down on a similar number of artworks a couple of weeks later. From then on until mid-July, the UK puts
up a continuous weekly flow of more than 1,000 lots, which peaks at 2,000 to 3,000 lots per week at the
end of the first half, rounding off the spring/summer auction season with a large number of prestigious
auctions covering all categories of artworks.
In France, March and June are the busiest times, with close to 10,000 lots sold at auction in each of
these two months. But by value, there can be no comparison with New York’s auctions in the first three
weeks in May, which normally generate turnover in excess of $600m-almost a quarter of the annual total.
One-fifth of annual sales of lots valued at over EUR100,000 thus take place in under three weeks.
The number of auctions drops sharply from mid-July to mid-September. During this period barely 3,000
lots per week are put up for auction worldwide. But Australia keeps the ball rolling, with some fine
auctions in August. The second season only really kicks off in the last week of September, when all the
main markets hold some auctions. These are often relatively low key events, ahead of the more prestigious
sales held in November and early December. The market then gets into full swing for three or four weeks
in late autumn. Works valued in excess of EUR100,000 begin to come back onto the market. The first week
in November is an especially busy time for the top end of the market, while, for all categories combined,
the last week in November is the most hectic, with dozens of auctions held worldwide and 15,000 to 20,000
lots sold in less than a week. This year the war in Iraq and the economic downturn do not look to have
disrupted the art market’s smooth running after all. Sales are going ahead at the usual pace. The May
auctions in New York, though unexceptional, reassured collectors. And the French auctions are being particularly
excerpt from: Art Market Trends 2003
© 2004 artprice.com
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