Art & Tech Report by Artnet 2021
Platform Artnet has released the latest edition of its Intelligence Report, which offers a glimpse of what the art market will look like when it comes out of lockdown.
Despite the pandemic, the art market seems to have withstood the global economic crisis thanks to the sector’s digitization process which, although late and non-strategic, has required major investments to avoid collapse.
The Report reports that total sales volume of $10.1 billion was down a modest 25% from 2019.
China has officially overtaken the United States as the largest auction market in the world, worth over $3.4 billion. In fact, in 2020, China saw a very small decline of 0.1%, while the US and UK saw losses of around 35%.
Sotheby’s surpassed rival Christie‘s in art sales, grossing $2.7 billion in 2020, while Christie’s came in at $2.4 billion with 40% less revenue than in 2019. Sotheby’s was down 28% and Phillips was down 19%.
Unprecedented results are coming from the online art market, especially those related to auctions: Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips recorded a total of $1 billion in online sales alone in 2020, or +1,056% from 2019.
$35,698 is the average price of an artwork sold at auction in 2020, the lowest figure in eight years. What happened?
Online sales have increased, but nevertheless collectors have been cautious about buying online because they are not yet 100% confident in the security and transparency of the digital marketplace.
Also significant is the growth – as reported in the Artnet Report – of the market for “ultra contemporary” art, i.e. that produced by artists born after 1974, which recorded an increase in sales of 32.5%. In first place in the ranking of the best-selling young artists is Adrian Ghenie with his work “Lidless Eye” which sold for $7,086,543.
The Contemporary art market also performed well: four of the ten best-selling Contemporary artworks were by Chinese artists. In first place among the best-selling Contemporary artists was Zeng Fanzhi, followed by Peter Doig, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Yoshitomo Nara.
Post-War art also remained stable: in first place was Roy Lichtenstein ($46,242,500), followed by David Hockney ($41,067,500) and Cy Twombly ($38,685,000).
There is a slight increase in the number of women among the 100 best-selling artists at auction in 2020: there are eight, just one more than in 2019. Among them, the top sellers are Joan Mitchell, Yayoi Kusama and Tamara de Lempicka.
The great revelation of 2020 was the artist, represented by Pace Gallery, Robert Nava, harshly criticized for his “unproductive” art but insanely loved by collectors willing to spend incredible sums on his paintings: “The Tunnel” (2019) estimated between $40,000 and $60,000 sold for $162,500.
And you, are you ready to discover Artnet’s Art&Tech Report 2021?
Photo Credits: Boston Globe via Getty Images