Whitehot Magazine

October 2013: September Art Market Report


ArtInternational, Istanbul. Image courtesy Daisy Honeybunn.

By Shireen Lohrasbe


ART RIO OPENED SEPTEMBER 5–8 with 100+ galleries. Although 2013 numbers have yet to be release, the past two editions have attracted 120,000 visitors from Brazil and beyond. Art Rio’s Co-creator Brenda Valansi told Artsy, “Our goal is to disseminate art and culture throughout Rio and Brazil not only during a week but through the whole year. The success the fair achieved in such little time is proof of how Brazilian people are willing to emerge in the art scene. ArtRio has become an international platform to absorb and spread art and provide freshness and innovation to Brazilian galleries, institutions, and collectors.”

ARTINTERNATIONAL, ISTANBUL’S NEWEST contemporary art fair launched September 16–18. The inaugural fair presented 62 galleries and attracted 4500 visitors. Furthermore, ArtInternational procured an estimated €21,000,000 (~$29 Million USD) in sales. Highlights included: Francesco Vezzoli’s “Portrait of Sophia Loren as the Muse of Antiquity (After De Chirico)” which sold for €250,000/$345,000 at Yvon Lambert, and an alabaster work by Anish Kapoor that sold for £850,000/$1.4 Million.

TURKEY’S ART MARKET IS GROWING in terms of its regional activities (such as art fairs and biennials) and overall global presence among its artists. A report published by European Fine Art Fair calculated works by Turkish artists sold for twentyfold from 10 years ago. “In 2001 art market volume was $ 5 million, while in 2010 it reached $ 105 million, and expected to be around $ 300 million by 2013.”

DELOITTE LUXEMBOURG’s yearly “Art & Finance Seminar Series” transpired September 17. This year’s main objective was freeports—(usually) tax free open to all traders. “Due to the close proximity of the opening of the Luxembourg Freeport, private bankers, asset managers, family offices and institutional investors have together come to the realisation that art assets held in private wealth situations require serious management and the opportunity to offer revenue producing services.”

THE 17TH EDITION OF ART MOSCOW ran September 18–22 with a revised format appealing to middle-class buyers. The "New Platform" section highlighted 1-3 year-old galleries presenting works for $5000 or less, thus attracting a new demographic of collectors. Sales records have yet to be released.

EXPO CHICAGO 2013 ran September 19–21. It featured 120 galleries from 17 countries and attracted 30,000 people—10% increase from 2012. Director Tony Karman told Art in America, “I’ll tell you what distinguishes this year from last year, and I’ll tell you in one word—sales. It was very important that big dealers like David Zwirner and Marianne Boesky do well, and they have.”

THE BLOUIN CREATIVE LEADERSHIP SUMMIT ran September 23–25. BCLS featured a panel titled “Trends in the Art Market,” moderated by Benjamin Genocchio, Editor in Chief, Art + Auction Magazine speaking with art advisor Mary Hoeveler, professor Roman Kräussl and Art+Auction editor Judd Tully. Among many topics covered, the panelists discussed the art world’s increased democratization. With globalization there’s decreased dependency on a small number of artists and collectors (even Qatar with its billion dollar budget) to lead and greatly influence the market; there's less volatility due to increased regional dispersion and fragmentation with emergents such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Furthermore, auctions only make up 25% of the $80 Billion industry. The remaining 75% are privately held transactions of which only a small percentage are generated by big-name dealers like Gagosian and Zwirner. The majority of these private sales are pooled by the thousands of galleries selling at fairs (often 50% of their yearly revenues) and via their respective physical spaces.

ONLINE ART SALES ARE RISING. The Financial Times’ Georgina Adam got a direct quote from Clare McAndrew, Managing Director at Arts Economics and author of Maastricht’s Art Market Report (the most-relied upon yearly art market report). McAndrew stated that online art sales made up 1% of the global ecommerce market at $3.2 Billion in 2012, and should increase threefold to $11 Billion by 2017.

CHRISTIE’S FIRST OPEN of Post-war and Contemporary Art ran September 26 and 27 in New York. Of 399 lots offered, 281 sold (70% by lot, 84% by value). The sale realized a total of $13,666,875—the highest achieved for this PwC category. The top lot was a Andreas Gursky diptych titled “Pyongyang II" that realized $963,750 (reaching the middle of its $800,000–$1,200,000 pre-estimate). According to the post-release, “Bidders fought hard for signature works by rising stars including Tauba Auerbach and Oscar Murillo as well as rare vintage and exceptional examples by Alfred Jensen, Alexander Calder and Howard Hodgkin.”

CHRISTIE’S FIRST AUCTION IN MAINLAND CHINA realized $25 Million in late September. The Shanghai-based sale offered 39 lots of luxury goods, far surpassing its $16 Million cumulative pre-estimate. According to Frederik Balfour at Bloomberg, “the most lucrative part of the Chinese art and antiques market -- valued at $14.3 billion in 2012 by the European Fine Art Foundation -- is off-limits to foreign auction houses under a law to protect cultural relics.” Pre-1949 artworks remain off limits for now.

NIGERIA’S ANCIENT ART MARKET IS GROWING. Despite taboos around collecting ancient religious art, there’s rising interest. According to Reuters: “A growing number of wealthy Nigerians are adding such pieces to their collections… by local as well as foreign collectors.” Nigerian auctioneer Yemisi Shyllon added, “Southern Africa and east Africa are still ahead of our region when it comes to producing internationally recognised art, but Nigerians are becoming Africa’s biggest collectors of art.”

AMAZON HAS OFFICIALLY ENTERED the art selling business, repping over 100 smaller galleries online via its website. Thus far, Amazon hasn’t made a dent. Given its discount business model, successfully selling a $4.85 Million Norman Rockwell painting seems far-fetched. In a recent article, The Economist quoted Artfinder’s Jonas Almgren: “There is an enormous mismatch between Amazon’s ‘utilitarian’ website and ‘the inspirational approach you need to sell art.’”

ART MARKET MONITOR RELEASED a report stating year-on-year mid-season tallies for Contemporary art saw an increase of 29% ($32.2 Million) in 2013 at the top three auction houses. Christie’s mid-season sales rose an astonishing 62%, while Sotheby’s saw an increase by 12% and 13% at Phillips.




Shireen Lohrasbe

Shireen holds a BBA in Design & Management from Parsons The New School for Design and an MA in Art Business from Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York. She has contributed to several online publications including Art Observed, Quintessentially Art, and Whitewall Magazine. Shireen is a regular art market contributor at Whitehot Magazine.

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