So now it’s official: The latest art market boom has peaked, according to figures from Christie’s and Sotheby’s, the two biggest international auction houses.
In late January, the companies released their 2015 results, with each reporting a slight decrease in year-over-year sales. It was the first year since 2010 that both failed to show an increase.
Christie’s, a private company based in London, reported auctions and private sales of 4.8 billion pounds, or about $6.8 billion in 2015, a decline of about 5 percent from 2014. Equivalent sales at Sotheby’s, which is publicly traded and based in New York, were $6.6 billion, about 1 percent less than in 2014.
Those figures do not represent a burst bubble, or even a serious correction, but they do suggest that 2016 is going to be a challenging year for the art market, reflecting the volatility and uncertainty of the wider world.
“The froth has been skimmed off,” said Paul Ress, the chief executive of Right Capital, which provides loans secured by art to dealers and collectors. Mr. Ress said that the collapse in the price of oil has taken “a huge amount of cash” out of the art market.
“There aren’t so many Russians and Brazilians involved now, and the Chinese slowdown has had a knock-on effect on the raw materials and equity markets,” he said. “The potential buyers in the art world won’t be feeling as rich as they did last year.”
An examination of Christie’s results reveals key shifts in the market in 2015. Bolstered by huge one-off prices in New York for trophy works by artists like Picasso and Modigliani , auction sales of Impressionist and modern art were up 57 percent to £1.3 billion, while those of postwar and contemporary art — the main driver of growth from 2009 to 2014 — were down 14 percent to £1.5 billion. Year-over-year sales of old master paintings and 19th-century and Russian art shrank 37 percent to £154.9 million. . . . .
I shared an article last year talking about how Art Basel has played an ever-increasingly significant role in the Hong Kong (and Asian) art markets. If you are interested in that area of the Art field, you might want to check out Art Basel’s upcoming art show! ** DB
“Art Basel ~ Hong Kong Art Show”
Who: Art Basel
When: Mar. 15, 2015 – Mar. 17, 2015 (View Hours Here)
Art | Basel
Asian Art Fairs Ltd.
6/F Luk Kwok Centre
72 Gloucester Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
How Much: (View Pricing Here)
More Information: Here
“From emerging talents to the Modern masters of both Asia and the West, Art Basel in Hong Kong traces twelve decades of art history across its six sectors: Galleries, Insights, Discoveries, Encounters, Magazines and Film. On display will be the highest quality of paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, video and editioned works from the 20th and 21st centuries, by more than 2,000 artists from Asia and around the globe.
The show will also offer extensive opportunities for intellectual discovery, through discussions and presentations, creating a platform of cross-cultural exchanges for artists, gallerists, collectors, and visitors.”
Andy Warhol was the top-selling artist at auction in the past year as increased competition for the most-expensive segment of the market drove global art sales higher.
Collectors bought 1,295 works by the deceased artist totaling $653.2 million, ahead of sales for Pablo Picasso andFrancis Bacon, according to preliminary figures by New York-based researcherArtnet. Auctions worldwide rose 10 percent to $16 billion.
Art sales have more than doubled from $6.3 billion in 2009, as surging financial markets lifted the fortunes of the world’s richest. The top 400 billionaires added $92 billion in wealth this year, for a net worth of $4.1 trillion as of Dec. 29, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bidding for the most coveted artists has been driving much of the surge in auctions, said Jeff Rabin, a principal at advisory firm Artvest Partners in New York.
“The headline number is not so much a comment on the art market as it is on global wealth,” Rabin said. “We haven’t seen a considerable increase in the number of objects sold. We have seen price appreciation at the top end.”
A record $2.3 billion of art was auctioned over two weeks in New York in November. As part of those auctions, Christie’s on Nov. 12 sold 75 contemporary works for $852.9 million, a record for an evening auction.
“That total in one evening sale for less than 100 works is extraordinary,” Rabin said.
At $16 billion, this year’s art sales would be the second-highest on record. The Artnet numbers for 2014 are preliminary, and final figures next week could still surpass the previous record of $16.3 billion, set in 2011. The figures take into account sales of paintings, drawings and sculpture but not other collectibles such as furniture or decorative objects. The numbers also don’t include private sales.
No women were among the top 10 artists in 2014, and only one, Gerhard Richter, 82, is still living.
Warhol, who died in 1987, had two of the most expensive works at auction in 2014. “Triple Elvis,” a 1963 silkscreen of Elvis Presley in a publicity image for the movie “Flaming Star” in which the singer is shown as a cowboy with a gun, sold for $81.9 million.
“Four Marlons,” a 1966 canvas depicting four identical images of a young Marlon Brando wearing a leather jacket and a cap in a still from the movie “The Wild One,” fetched $69.6 million. Both works were sold in November at Christie’s in New York.
Picasso was the second-biggest selling artist, with 2,820 of his works fetching $448.7 million. Although he didn’t have an individual work among the top sellers, collectors sought out the artist because he had “an incredible body of work and multiple periods of exceptional work,” Rabin said.
Bacon, Richter and Mark Rothko rounded out the top five artists. Two Chinese artists, Qi Baishi, known for painting shrimp, fish and frogs, and Zhang Daqian, who was famous for his landscapes, ranked sixth and ninth, respectively. Claude Monet was seventh, with $252.1 million of his works sold. Jean-Michel Basquiat was 10th, at $172.2 million. . . .
“Shanghai Art Fair”
Who: Shanghai Art Fair (Various Exhibitors)
When: Nov. 13, 2014 – Nov. 15, 2014 (View Hours Here)
99, Xingyi Rd.
How Much: 50 Yuan
More Information: Here
Shanghai Art Fair 2014 (18th), as Aisa’s celebrated art exchange with long history and high internationalization degree, will be grandly held from Nov.13-16 at ShanghaiMART, continuing the scale as before, presenting domestic and overseas collectors a gorgeous art event in Shanghai as well.
Shanghai Art Fair, established in 1997, has been successfully held under the support of Saulterretimized art event, which not only bridged the gap between worldwide and Shanghai, public and art, but also shaped a paradigm for the domestic art fairs.
More than 20 countries and areas’ art galleries, organizations, agencies participated in this lively art exchange during the past dozen years. Many original artworks from the world-class masters, such as Picasso, Rembrandt, Chagall, Dali, Renoir, Monet, Zhu Dequn, Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Zhang Daqian, made the debut in China or Asia through the great stage established by Shanghai Art Fair. Number of spectators was around 60000 persons, turnover of 2013 exceeded one hundred and forty million yuan. Meanwhile, Shanghai art Fair creates a proud history of the transaction:
SAF 2000: The most spectacular one is Rodin”s sculpture called, The Thinker, brought by Sayegh Gallery (France), which was purchased at the price of $1,000,000 by Pudong Lianyang Land Development Company and set in Shanghai forever. This has been the biggest overseas transaction in Shanghai Art Fair.
SAF 2002: Another sculpture, called Cesar”s Thumb, was collected at the price of 2,600,000 RMB by Shanghai Zendai Group.
SAF 2003: One of Zhang Daqian”s paintings was sold at 5,500,000 RMB, which became the highlight of the fair.
SAF 2007: Saulterre’s “Series of Angel” was collected by Jing’an Sculpture Park at a high price…
Peter Denger, the famous curator of Basel Art Fair which is called Olympic in art, once gave Shanghai Art Fair a high rating “It”s a great international art fair with bright future”.