Whitehot Magazine

March-April 2014 Art Market Report

Exhibition View Exterior, Art Dubai 2014. Image courtesy of Art Dubai 2014.



ART14 LONDON SPONSORED BY CITI Private Bank, transpired February 28–March 2. The fair (whose name changes numerically with each corresponding year) featured 180 galleries repping 700+ artists from 40 countries. Only in its 2nd edition, Art14 London clocked 31,231 visitors and priced its square footage accordingly. Despite its lower price points for collectors, its booths were priced high in the ballpark of Frieze—London’s most renowned contemporary fair. Specifically, Art14 charged £360/$602 per square meter at booths compared to Frieze’s £362/$605 per sq. m.

LEADING MAINLAND CHINA-BASED AUCTION HOUSE POLY CULTURE (formerly Poly International) went public early March in Hong Kong. Under Poly Culture, the IPO debuted at HK$33 per share, surging 29% to HK$44.60 within the first hour and projected to raise HK$2.57 Billion within the first week. Moreover, Prudence Ho at The Wall Street Journal detailed: “The US$331 million IPO of Poly Culture Group Corp. was a first not just because it is the first listing by a Chinese auction house. It was also the first IPO underwritten solely by the merged Citic Securities International and CLSA Ltd. Citic Securities International, the offshore investment banking arm of China’s biggest brokerage, bought Hong Kong-based brokerage CLSA from French bank Credit Agricole SA.”

THE 16TH EDITION OF THE ARMORY SHOW ran March 6–9. The fair presented 200 galleries from 29 countries and attracted 65,000+ visitors during its five-day run. This year’s “Armory Focus” was China and highlighted the country’s expansive contemporary art scene from both Mainland China and Hong Kong.   

In terms of public programming, the Open Forum included: “From the Bottom Up: Rethinking Art Galleries in a Commodity and Event Dominated Ecosystem,” which covered the impact of globalization (including the bifurcation of the art market and the proliferation of art fairs) on the traditional gallery-model. The panel, moderated by Christian Viveros-Fauné of The Village Voice, ArtReview and The Art Newspaper, presented market experts like columnist Georgina Adam of The Financial Times, BBC.com and The Art Newspaper. Another panel, “Fair Value: How Top Dealers, Advisors and Collectors Identify Value at an Art Fair” was moderated by Dorsey Waxter, President of Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA). It consisted of Suzanne Gyorgy of Citi Private Bank, dealer Sean Kelly, collector Jill Kraus and advisor Allan Schwartzman.

IN EARLY MARCH, CHRISTIE’S HELD ITS FIRST OPEN of Post-War and Contemporary Art. The PwC sale totaled $11,652,625. Of 226 lots, “the auction opened with 30 works generously offered by foremost artists and gallerists to support The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, which realized $662,125 (lots 1 – 30).”

THE EUROPEAN FINE ART FAIR Maastricht took place March 14–23. The 27th edition sponsored by AXA Art hosted 275 galleries from 20 countries specializing in Old Masters, antiques, modern and contemporary art, jewelry and design. The private view on March 13 clocked 10,000 visitors and totaled 74,000+ by the end of the week—record numbers for the Netherland-based weeklong event.

EACH YEAR TEFAF RELEASES A COMPREHENSIVE report on the global art market to coincide with the fair, published by Arts Economics under Dr. Clare McAndrew. This year’s report centered on the United States and China aptly titled “The TEFAF Art Market Report 2014 – The Global Art Market with a focus on the US and China.” Findings included: Global art (and antiques) sales rose to $65 Billion in 2013, up 8% from 2012. And, PwC transactions increased by 11% to $6.8 Billion, from 2012 to 2013—the highest yield since 2007 at the peak of the market.

The United States remains the top country in terms of global shares of art market-related transactions. Last year, the US accounted for 38% of global shares, a 25% increase 2012–2013 (possibly due to housing 42% of millionaires worldwide). Comparatively, China accounted for 24% of shares in 2013 at €11.5 Billion/ $15.65 Billion. “The Chinese market staged a cautious recovery in 2013 with a 2% growth in value but its global share dropped by 2% to 24%. It is the most important of the newer markets.” Also noteworthy, “Online art and antiques sales in 2013 were estimated conservatively at more than €2.5 billion, or about 5% of the market, and could grow at a rate of at least 25% per annum.”

HISCOX PUBLISHED FINDINGS ON THE ONLINE market substantially lower than TEFAF’s projected numbers. Coline Millard at Artnet explained: “A report funded by specialist insurer Hiscox has found that the online art market in 2013 was worth $1.57 billion. It is expected to rise to $3.76 billion by 2018. The survey also claims that online buying accounts for 2.4 percent of the global art market, estimated at $65 billion by the TEFAF Art Market Report 2014. While the results remains impressive, they are dramatically under TEFAF’s own estimates. Compiling the TEFAF report, economist Dr Clare McAndrew found that the online art and antiques sales in 2013 grossed €2.5 billion ($3.47 billion), more than twice Hiscox’s estimate. This would make online buying account for about 5 percent of the market as a whole.”

ZURICH INSURANCE GROUP ORGANIZED “The Zurich Forum: An insight into investing, collecting and protection fine art” in Dubai, UAE, mid-March. The Forum gathered a number of experts including: Salma Shaheem, Head of Middle Eastern Markets at The Fine Art Fund Group; Brian Reilly, CEO at Zurich Insurance Company in UAE; and, Hala Khayat, Head of Sale at Christie’s Dubai. The panel suggested overall art market maturity makes art a viable asset for Middle Eastern HNWI’s (high-net-worth individuals). Furthermore, the panelists “identified the emergence of a broader base of retail investors who are now confident about spending $20,000 and above on pieces of art. They have been attracted by the rise of support services for art investors, such as the ‘Art Net’ pricing tool, and the proliferation of ways to participate in the market, from purchasing art directly from studios, galleries and auction houses through to investing via specialist art funds.”

THE 8TH EDITION OF ART DUBAI ran March 19–22. Considered the foremost fair in the MENASA (Middle East/North Africa/South Asia), Art Dubai reflects the region’s burgeoning art scene. This year, the fair showcased 85 galleries from 34 countries and drew 25,000 visitors. According to Coline Millard at Artnet: “The art on show total[ed] an estimated US$40–45 million. Despite the ubiquitous displays of wealth synonymous with Dubai, the price point remains fairly low: the large majority of the sales yesterday were under US$100,000.”

CHRISTIE’S HELD ITS “MODERN & CONTEMPORARY ARAB Iranian & Turkish Art” sale to coincide with Dubai Art Week. According to the post-release, “140 art works which sold for a total of $10,648,250 (AED39,111,022), an increase of 65% on last year’s sale total…The top lot of the sale, also from the Collection, was Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar’s (Egyptian, 1925-1965) Construction of the Suez Canal which sold for $1,023,750, a new world auction record for the artist.” The auction house is in its 16th season in the region. Michael Jeha, Managing director in the Middle East stated, “Christie’s dominates the market for Middle Eastern Modern and Contemporary Art with our sales accounting for 74% of the auction market.”

“ART AGENCY, PARTNERS” LAUNCHED in late March. The joint venture provides art advisory services by two eminent professionals: former Christie’s PwC Chairman Amy Cappellazzo and advisor Allan Schwartzman. Art Agency, Partners offers “guidance and assistance to serious art collectors in today's multifaceted and increasingly nuanced art market…Catering to a discerning international clientele from nascent to legacy collectors…[and] on a selective basis, AAP also provides strategic counsel to artists, aimed at fulfilling their career goals.”

THE 6TH EDITION OF DALLAS ART FAIR transpired April 11–13. The fair welcomed over 80 galleries this year with its kick-off party honoring artist Paula Crown and RE:DEFINE—a world-premiere art exhibition, auction and gala. Presented by MTV Staying Alive Foundation, the Goss-Michael Foundation and Dallas Contemporary, RE:DEFINE featured artists like Sarah Lucas, Mat Collishaw, Jim Lambie, Julian Scnabel and Richard Phillips.

THE 48TH EDITION OF ART COLOGNE ran April 13–17. According to the post-release, “221 galleries from 25 countries offered around 55,000 visitors an exceptional cross-section of Modern, Postwar and Contemporary art.”

THE 3RD EDITION OF ART PARIS ART FAIR transpired March 27–30. The fair presented 140 galleries (50% foreign) from 20 countries and pulled an impressive 58,387 guests—a 10% increase on last year’s 53,257. “The trade and private preview attracted a record 17 115 professional visitors (up 24% from 13 847 in 2013).” This year, China was the fair’s focus and guest of honor coinciding with the 50th anniversary celebration of relations between France and China. “With some 90 Chinese modern and contemporary artists represented, [APAF] turns the spotlight on what is a rich and dynamic art scene…This edition of the fair is also a reminder that many Chinese artists choose to live in Paris.”

APAF held a round table discussion titled, “Art in Chine Today: What will the future hold?” moderated by China’s guest-of-honor Silvie Seidlitz with art critic Karen Smith, collector Dr. Uli Sigg and Katie de Tilly of 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, HK. Additionally, IESA Art & Culturea organized a conference entitled “France-China: The contemporary art market,” moderated by Guy Boyer, Chief Editor at Connaissance.

SOTHEBY’S HELD ITS 5-DAY SPRING SALE SERIES in Hong Kong, early April. The Series offered 3,445 lots that achieved a cumulative total of HK$3.42 Billion/ US$438 Million (far-surpassing its HK$2.5 Billion/ US$320 Million pre-estimate). More specifically, “The 20th Century Chinese Art” (both modern and contemporary), day and evening sales totaled HK$414,097,500/ US$53,089,423—attaining 37% above the high-end of its cumulative estimate. Blue-chip works were offered in the names of Zhang Xiaogang and Yoshitomo Nara and 166 of 189 sold, 87.8% by lot and 94.7% by value. The top lot was Zao Wou-Ki’s oil on canvas titled “16.03.88” (1988), which sold for HK$8.84 Million (HK$3.8-5 M pre-estimate). Another sale of the Series, “Contemporary Asian Art” achieved HK$368 Million led by Zhang Enli’s “Dancing No.2,” which sold for HK$6.64 Million. WM




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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