Artprice published its annual report on the contemporary art market, confirming the positive trends recorded in the last semi-annual report in August 2015.

The old myth “only a dead artist is a good artist” is now a distant memory. Within 15 years, the contemporary art market has grown by 1,800%, from $ 93 millions in 2000/01 to $ 1.76 billion in the 2014/15 confirming the leading role of contemporary art in the global art market.

Artprice’s 2014/15 Contemporary Art Market Report studies the sales period running from July 2014 to June 2015.

Today the pricing structure of contemporary artists is perfectly defined by the abundance of sales results: $ 1.76 billion of the contemporary art works sold at auction, a decrease of 12% compared to the previous year. This phenomenon is mainly due to a sharp adjustment in the Chinese contemporary art market (-37%) primarily due to the drastic anti-corruption measures adopted by President Xi Jinping, that have temporarily paralyzed the luxury sector and the art market.

Therefore, China lost the leadership in the contemporary art market and it is in second place with 30.9% of sales and USA back to lead with 37%.

Picture 2 Raqib Shaw  Arrival of the Horse King (Paradise Lost Series) (2011-2012) oil, acrylic, polish, glitters and paillettes on wooden plate (Ø 274,3 cm)  Sold: $ 1,1 millions  Phillips, London, 06/29/2015 © Raqib Shaw. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby)

Raqib Shaw, Arrival of the Horse King (Paradise Lost Series) (2011-2012)
oil, acrylic, polish, glitters and paillettes on wooden plate (Ø 274,3 cm)
Sold: $ 1,1 millions, Phillips, London, 06/29/2015
© Raqib Shaw. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby)

Almost the entire value of the United States’ Contemporary art auction turnover is generated in New York ($631 million in 2014/2015, i.e. 97% of the US Contemporary art market).

In addition, the UK is in third position with 23.3% of the world market scoring a growth of 74.7%. In the past London was considered the best marketplace to buy or sell the old masters, but now it becomes one of the strongholds of contemporary art and it dominates in Europe. In this town, Christie’s, the world’s most powerful auction operator, was founded in 1766. Today the firm largely dominates its international rivals on the Contemporary art sector, accounting for no less than 37% of the market’s global turnover. After New York, London is where Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips generate their best results.

With awards of $ 410 millions in twelve months, the UK is approaching inexorably to China ($ 542 millions) and the US ($ 650 millions).

China, the United States and the United Kingdom hold 91% of the worldwide contemporary art market, while France accounts for only 2% of sales ($ 36 millions) and Germany for 1% ($ 18 millions).

An important factor that emerged during the Artprice’s analysis is the accessibility of the contemporary art market for more restricted budgets.

The 80% of the lots sold fetch less than $ 15,000, and half the works generate results below $ 2,230. Therefore, behind its headline façade, the contemporary art market is accessible to a wide range of budgets and exorbitant prices only represent a tiny proportion of its transactions: out of the 55,400 sold, only 14 contemporary works fetched more than $10 millions.

In conclusion, although more heavily impacted by market fluctuations, contemporary art is the better long-term financial investment than the rest of the art market. Over the last 10 years, the contemporary art price index has gained nearly 37%, while the index for the overall art market has posted very weak growth.


Paola Sacconi


Link: http://artprice.com

cover image: Urs Fischer, What if the Phone Rings (2003), Sculpture (wax, pigments, wicks), Figure 1 : 106 x 142 x 46 cm / Figure 2 : 200 x 54 x 46 cm / Figure 3 : 94 x 99 x 54 cm

Sold: $ 2,7 millions , Christie’s, New York, 11/12/2014 © Urs Fischer. Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London / Photo: Cary Whittier


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