Night Music: Spanish Harlem

March 12, 2019

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The Art Market Thrives — and Changes

March 12, 2019

Art Basel and UBS have now published their third annual review of the global art market. Highlights include:

  • Total art sales in 2018 amounted to $67.4 billion, up 6% from the previous year;
  • The United States, the United Kingdom, and China account for 84% of the entire market;
  • Online sales now amount of $6 billion, or about 9% of the total.

“Market: a workforce to be reckoned with
In 2018, 2.7 million people were employed worldwide in the gallery and dealer sector. Furthermore, it is estimated that, in 2018, the global art trade spent USD 20.2 billion on a range of external support services directly linked to their businesses, supporting 375,030 further jobs. The gender balance in the dealer sector was predominantly female: Women made up almost two-thirds of the workforce.”

Dealers: long-term relationships with collectors are more important than ever
In 2018, businesses in the dealer sector sold on average to 73 clients each, an increase of a third year-on-year. For dealers with a turnover of less than USD 1 million, new buyers accounted for 32% of their sales versus 25% and below for dealers with a turnover in excess of USD 1 million. The value of sales to longer-term buyers (collectors who have been clients for five years and more) rose considerably in the segments between USD 500,000 and USD 1 million and between USD 1 million and USD 10 million, increasing by 10% and 7% respectively on their share in 2017.”

“Auctions: new records for living artists
While deceased artists still generate higher sales than living ones at post-war and contemporary auction sales, works by living artists have set new records in 2018 – notably David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) from 1972, which fetched USD 90.3 million. The share of revenue generated through works by living artists at post-war and contemporary auctions in 2018 has grown mostly in the US: It reached 42% percent, up 10% from 2017. China remains the market with the highest share of sales by living artists, at 55% (down 2% on 2017).”


Wise Words

March 12, 2019