With the Artprice’s Global Art Market annual report being released in February of 2016, we are able to analyze its preview and put a few figures and concepts in perspective. This being the 14th annual report, it portrays relevant art market data for the year of 2015 like ranking of the world's top 500 artists, the top 100 auction results, a country-by-country analysis and a comparison of the activity in the market's major capital cities displayed in 21 chapters. The most notable information coming from the report is that the Global Art Market has stabilized in 2015 against the backdrop of economic and financial crisis, making it a true financial sanctuary and confirming the Artprice’s forecast from their half-year report. Although the report itself hasn’t yet been released, its preview is showing some promising numbers which will be reviewed in the next few lines.
Proving its resilience and the ability to resist all economic fluctuations, the Art Market has managed to stabilize throughout 2015, making the artistic masterpieces one of the best financial investments money can buy. In case you do, you can expect between 12-15% of constant value growth rate of works bought above the $100,000 threshold. What works in favor of this is the fact that commerce of art has seen growth on all continents of the world, which is the main reason for the Art Market’s stabilization. The West has seen more than 360,000 works changing hands during 2015, which is 40% more than in 2005 and 3% better than last year. Total auction turnover from art maintained its 2014 level, with the West standing at more than $11.2 billion, and China being close to its 2010 level of more than $3.7 billion. However, we would like to remind you that the total auction turnover in the West has been $4.6 billion ten years earlier (2005), and the Chinese art auction market quadrupled in value between 2008 and 2010.
The increase in auction turnover is most notable in the high-end of the market. A decade ago, it was exceptional to see an auction bid above $100 million, and we’ve witness two sales fetching over $170 million in 2015, with a considerable number of works breaching the $10 million barrier. Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu Couché sold for $170.4 million, and Pablo Picaso’s Les Femmes d'Alger ("Version O") sold for $179.4 million, both in auctions at Christie’s. This is, of course, the official records of pieces sold at auctions, but if we look at the works sold in private sales, the numbers are even more astounding. The New York Times reported that a Qatari buyer paid over $300 million for a painting by Paul Gauguin. With the art sale’s high range being that of $10 million in 1980s and crossing the $100 million bar in the 2000s, the rate at which the numbers are increasing makes art a vital element in the global competition for "soft power." Looking to cross the $1 billion threshold, the evident progress of the art market poses significant questions, one of them surely being whether that kind of growth is sustainable.
Although the high-end market and the increase in art commerce are obvious contributors to the overall development of the Global Art Market, there are other factors that have played their part in it. Its growth since 2000 has been greatly supported by ease of access to Art Market information and by a remarkable increase in internet sales with 95% of those participating in the market being connected. It has also benefited from a massive increase in the population of art consumers (from 500,000 after the WWII to 70 million in 2015), their lower age threshold, and the market's expansion to the entire Greater Asia region, the Pacific Rim, India, South Africa, the Middle East and South America. Another major contributor is the ever-developing museum industry (700 new museums per year) which has played a significant economic role thus far, and continues to do so. More museums have been built between 2000 and 2015 than in the whole eighteenth and nineteenth century, and this has naturally led to an increase in the demand for museum quality artworks.
Featured image via 2luxury2.com.All images used for demonstrative purposes only.