Once again, the Pr art market machinery keeps the ape going without telling the other side of the story, that half the buyers don’t pay, and this whole hype is based on only 25,000 sold lots. But the art databases find it as fuel
Figures compiled by the countless art information bureaus such as ArtTactic, the Mei Moses Index, Artnet and Artprice show that the art market posted strong results in 2013 across all leading fields. Artprice has calculated that, excluding fees, public auction global sales in 2013 exceeded US$12 billion. Whilst still a baby , measured against all normal investment markets such as bonds and stocks, the art market continues to grow and attracts publicity and interest far greater than its size deserves. Those that can afford it are constantly stunned by the prices they have to pay and those that can’t find it hard to believe that anyone has that much disposable income to spend on art.
According to Artnet, after a decrease of more than 9% in 2012, sales improved by 13% last year, stimulated by the Chinese and American markets, which both competed for the top place. With sales of $4.078 billion (+21%) in 2013, China emerged as the world leader for the fourth year in a row, just in front of the United States’ result of $4.016 billion, an increase of 20%. The United States’ share of the market has risen to 33.33%, while China’s has decreased to 33.84%. Together, the two countries occupy around two-thirds of the global market.
Behind these two giants, the UK holds the title of third place with sales of $2.11 billion and a market share of 17.57%; meanwhile France comes in fourth place with sales of $549 million and a market share of 4.56%. Germany takes the fifth spot with sales of $207 million, followed by Switzerland’s $159 million.
As far as artists are concerned, Andy Warhol comes out on top for the highest sales total in 2013 with a result of $361 million, just beating Pablo Picasso ($361 million), Zhang Daqian ($291 million), Jean-Michel Basquiat ($250 million), Qi Baishi ($230 million), Francis Bacon ($195 million), Gerhard Richter ($165 million), Roy Lichtenstein ($140 million), Zao Wou-ki ($139 million) and Claude Monet ($137 million). Warhol and Picasso, who were both prolific and well documented(easy to value and few authenticity problems), seem to be the blue chip markets of choice for today’s breed of investor/collector.
Regarding auction houses, Artprice placed Christie’s in first place with a worldwide sales total of $3.55 billion, in front of Sotheby’s $3.1 billion. Poly International Auction came in third, and China Guardian Auctions fourth. As long as quantitive easing continues to pump liquidity into the economy, Janet Yellen keeps her finger on the trigger and the rich keep getting richer, expect this party to continue.