“After two years of uncertainty and decline, the market turned a corner in 2017 with growth in the auction and dealer sectors, as well as at art fairs and online,” wrote the report’s author, Clare McAndrew. “Despite some remaining political volatility, robust growth in high-end global wealth, accelerating financial market returns, stronger consumer confidence and increased supply led to a much more favorable environment for sales.”
However, McAndrew noted that the activity last year was largely driven by sales at the top end of the market.
McAndrew, a leading art market economist, recently joined Art Basel and was commissioned to write the report by Art Basel and UBS.
Some of the key data presented in the 175-page report include:
- The U.S. retains its position as the market leader, with a sales increase of 16% last year compared to 2016 and 42% of total sales by value.
- In aggregate, dealers claimed 53% of the total $63.7 billion in sales, compared to auction houses with 47% of the share. Dealers at the very high end, with sales over $50 million, had a growth rate of 10%....
I remember thinking, when the Basquiat was hammered down for $110 million, "Where would you put it?"
It's not the sort of thing you want to see on a late night bathroom run or first thing on the way to breakfast.