Demand Intensifies for Contemporary Art as Supply Contracts and Prices Rise

1. Prices of Contemporary Art were up 40%

2. Average annual ROI worked out at +4.6% for an average holding of 13 years

3. Tighter supply pushed prices up

4. The volume des Fine Art* transactions was up very slightly: +0.1%

5. The USA (-20%), China** (-12%) and the UK (-25%) all posted lower turnover

6. The Artprice100 index posted a 16% growth in H1 2019

7. Top quality Modern (-21%) and Old Master (-38%) works in short supply

8. Claude Monet dominated H1 2019 with 23 works sold generating 251 million

9. New record for a living artist: Jeff Koons’ Rabbit (1986) fetched $91 million

*Public sales of Fine Art (paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, prints, installations).

**In collaboration with Art Market Monitor of Artron (AMMA).

General conclusion…

With the collaboration of its Chinese State partner AMMA (Art Market Monitor of Artron), Artprice identified 262,300 Fine Art lots sold via public sales around the world in the first half of 2019. Together, these transactions generated a total of $6.98 billion, down 17.4% versus H1 2018

However, Artprice’s price index calculation, based on our ‘repeat sales method’, shows a 5% increase in art prices. With the banking sector operating in a negative or near-zero interest rate environment, the ROI in art is bound to add momentum to the market’s expansion.

“We are seeing a tightening of the balance between supply and demand in the Art Market,” explains thierry Ehrmann, Artprice’s Founder/CEO

“The results show persistent demand for museum-quality artworks, but the secondary market’s supply has tightened somewhat. The Art Market ” as it has developed since 1975 ” appears to be reaching its structural limits: auction houses are struggling to maintain their operating margins and also to convince collectors to sell their best pieces.

They are constantly increasing their buyer fees while simultaneously inventing new ways of reassuring sellers. Guarantees can encourage some sales, but this mechanism doesn’t represent a global solution. It’s time for the Art Market to start a new era”.

The recent acquisition of Sotheby’s and’s metamorphosis into (new name and corresponding AoA amendments submitted to an EGM in September 2019) are two changes that clearly reflect the Art Market’s entry into the digital age.

Global figures

At a global level, more than 262,300 Fine Art lots were auctioned in the first six months of 2019, up 0.1% on H1 2018.

Artprice, world leader in Art Market information since 1987, has systematically analysed the results of more than 3,502 auction sales (3,532 in H1 2018) around the world. This half-year report covers public sales of Fine Art (painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, prints and installations).

According to thierry Ehrmann, Artprice’s founder/CEO, “Since 2000, the Art Market has shown an exceptionally high level of maturity resisting the NASDAQ crisis, the consequences of 9/11, the second Iraq war, and an unprecedented financial and economic crisis that has plunged the developed world into a long-term low interest rates environment undermining the value of savings. It is now resisting a global context of heightening geopolitical tensions between China and the USA. During these past 19 years, the Art Market has managed to adapt to reality, not only avoiding its own collapse, but actually creating a genuine investment safe-haven… without forming a speculative bubble.”

The attractive returns on art over the last few years have outperformed many other investments, and the Art Market has become an independent, liquid and efficient market on all continents.

As mentioned, our Artprice100 index is showing 16% growth for H1 2019.

Top 10 Countries by Auction Turnover – H1 2019


/Public Release.