Artprice by Artmarket’s 2019 Annual Art Market Report shows continued growth with an all-time record number of transactions based on global confidence in the market, and the French market was particularly strong in 2019.
Fruit of the alliance between Artprice by Artmarket.com, world leader in Art Market information (founded and directed by Thierry Ehrmann), and Artron, its powerful Chinese institutional partner (directed by Wan Jie), our 22nd Annual Art Market Report allows a global view of public Fine Art sales of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, prints and installations from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019.
Thierry Ehrmann: “Today’s Art Market is exceptionally mature, capable of withstanding political instabilities, as both London and Hong Kong’s results have shown. China, which hardly existed on the global Art Market in 2000, now generates almost a third of its total value.”
22nd Annual Report by Artprice by Artmarket
This report contains the famous Artprice ranking of the Top 500 best-selling artists on the global fine art auction market and the Top 100 auction results. It also contains an analysis of the global Art Market from a geographical perspective (by country and by major city), a breakdown by historical periods and by artistic media, a selection of crucial Artprice market indices and 8 key chapters providing an uncompromising analysis of today’s global Art Market. No other entity is currently capable of generating such high-quality macro- and micro-economic metadata based on proprietary Big Data and AI algorithms.
This 22nd Annual Report on the Global Art Market is distributed worldwide exclusively by Artprice by ArtMarket and Cision, which together have created the first international press agency dedicated to Art Market information: Artpress agency®, which belongs to Artmarket.com, is the global leader in art market information.
Confident and stable growth, with a record number of transactions worldwide
The Art market has continued to deepen with a record 550,000 fine art lots sold via auctions around the world in 2019, generating a total of $13.3 billion. This was the highest annual number of lots sold since 1945… creating the deepest and broadest public art market ever recorded.
Driven by a healthy combination of investment logic, speculative buying, passion collecting and insatiable demand for major signatures from the world’s new museums, the global Art Market posted a buoyant level of activity in 2019 with a record number of 550,000 transactions worldwide.
The drivers of this growth are ease of access to Art Market information, electronic sales (99% of the market’s participants are connected to the Internet) – the financialization of the market, a growing population of ever-younger art consumers (from 500,000 after WWII to 120 million in 2019) and the extension of the market to the entire Asia/Pacific area, plus India, South Africa, the Middle East, and South America.
In terms of turnover, the global Art Market posted a contraction of -14% mainly due to a dearth of masterpieces above the $50 million threshold; however, the unsold rate remained perfectly stable at 38%, as did the overall art price index, which only changed +0.48%.
Remember the “unsold rate” has been closely watched for 120 years as it quickly indicates when a market is moving into a speculative mode (below 20%) or into a meltdown of confidence mode (over 60%). According to the famous Art Market sociologist Raymonde Moulin, the current rate of 38% is close to the “ideal” unsold rate.
The strength of the Art Market is related to its unparalleled level of selectivity, very much reflecting Artprice’s dictum “Buy the right work, from the right period, with a good story, by the right artist, at the right time.”
Over 20 years, the Art Market has experienced very substantial growth
An efficient, liquid and transparent Art Market that resembles financial markets.
In a world where many countries are posting quarterly economic growth rates well below 1%, the Art Market has once again confirmed its efficiency, liquidity, and transparency… just like a financial market. The key growth figure bear witness to this evolution:
– the Art Market’s total auction turnover has grown fourfold since 2000, from $3.2 billion to $13.3 billion in 2019
– the number of lots sold has doubled over the same period from 272,000 lots sold in 2000 to 550,000 sold in 2019.
Our Artprice100® (a global index covering all historical periods of creation combined: i.e. Old Masters, the Modern period and the Post-War/Contemporary periods) showed a +396% increase in value between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2019.
While the Central Banks – and notably the ECB – are maintaining close to zero or even negative base interest rates, the Art Market is posting frankly insolent health and our Artprice100® virtual index (covering all historical periods of creation combined) is currently posting a +396% increase since 2000.
The Internet (Microsoft estimates over 6.3 billion people are connected worldwide) has now become the principal and definitive forum for auction operators worldwide and they are using it to consolidate their market shares on all continents. Of the world’s 6,300 auction houses, 99% are today present on the Internet (versus just 3% in 2005).
France joins the quartet of major Art Market powers
France posted the best performance in its auction history, raising its auction turnover +18%. With a total of $830 million in 2019, it substantially upgraded its fourth place in the ranking of major Art Market powers. However, it still has a long way to catch up with the 3rd-placed UK, which posted an annual auction turnover total on fine art 2.5 times higher.
Thierry Ehrmann: “If Eric Turquin’s Caravaggio had sold at auction, as planned, and not privately two days before its scheduled auction in Toulouse, France’s annual turnover total would have been close to $1 billion in 2019.”
Nevertheless, France’s fine art auction strength is essentially its core high-volume backbone. With 82,000 fine art lots sold in 2019, France represented the second-largest market in the world, behind the United States (99,000 lots sold), but ahead of the UK (70,000) and China (66,000).
France can today congratulate itself on having the strongest auction house in Europe: Artcurial, which now ranks 11th in the world by annual turnover.
General overview of 2019
The global Art Market generated $13.32 billion, down -14% mainly due to a drop in the number of ultra-high value masterpieces offered (worth > $50 million)
The number of lots sold worldwide reached a new historical high of 550,000
The average lot price in 2019 reached $24,300
The median lot price was $940
Approximately 90% of all lots sold fetched less than $17,000
The unsold rate remained stable at 38% (slightly more than a third)
The overall price index remained stable at +0.48%
The Contemporary art price index was up +4.44%
Repeat sales* show an average annual return varying between +5.5% and +8.2% since 2000
Works purchased between $200,000 and $1 million generate the strongest annual return: +8.2% since 2000
* The same work bought at auction and sold at auction in 2019
The United States ($4.6 billion) outperformed China ($4.1 billion) and the UK ($2.2 billion)
China suffered a milder correction (-9%) than the United States (-22%) and the UK (-21%)
The top three powers on the Art Market accounted for 82% of global fine art auction turnover
France was the only major power to post positive growth: +18%
Christie’s and Sotheby’s together hammered 54% of the global art auction market: $3.65 billion and $3.59 billion respectively
Five Chinese auction houses ranked in the Top 10 worldwide
Phillips confirmed its excellent 2018 results with its second best-ever annual total, despite a -11% contraction
Artcurial ranked 11th in the world becoming the leading European auction house
Artists and record results
In 2019 there was only one auction result above $100 million (compared with two in 2018).
Claude Monet’s Haystacks (Meules) (1890) peaked the market at $110.7 million.
Its value was multiplied by 44 since its previous auction in 1986.
Claude Monet arrived second in the general classification by annual auction turnover, below Pablo Picasso and above Zao Wou-Ki.
Jeff Koons recovered the title of “most valued living artist in the world” when his Rabbit (1986) fetched $91.1 million
Gerhard Richter and David Hockney were the world’s best-selling living artists, each with annual totals of $130 million in 2019.
Three main trends
1. Street Art is increasingly present on auction podiums, with its own stars: Kaws and Banksy. Lots of other street artists are moving up the sales rankings including Invader, Stik, Shepard Fairey, and Vhils.
2. African-American and African-origin artists are recovering their rightful places in art history and in the market. Kerry James Marshall climbed to 55th place in Artprice’s general ranking.
3. Christie’s HI-LITE sale in Hong Kong put a name on the first major art movement of the 21st century.
The Museum Industry® is a global economic reality in the 21st century that represents the driving force behind the Art Market
The growth of the museum industry is also playing a crucial role. With more than 700 new museums opening every year, the museum industry has become a global economic reality in the 21st century. More museums opened between 2000 and 2014 than in the previous two centuries.
Demand for museum-quality works is one of the key factors in the spectacular growth of the Art Market. The Art Market is now both mature and liquid.
Read this 22nd Global Annual Art Market Report for free at artprice.com/artprice-reports/the-art-market-in-2019