Paint Me Impressed

The Global fine art market continues to grow according to a half year report by Artprice, which collects Art Market information. More than 262,000 Fine Art lots were auctioned in the first six months of 2018, generating a total product of $8.45 billion (including fees). This covers public sales of Fine Art (painting and other paint products, sculpture, drawing, photography, prints and installations).

Despite a relatively unfavourable economic context, the global art market has shown signs of buoyancy, driven by a powerful combination of investment logic, speculative buying, passion collecting and insatiable demand for major signatures from new museums around the world.

Asia continues to grow as a Fine Art Market
The market’s growth drivers rely heavily on easy access to reliable Art Market information. This includes a rapidly spreading awareness that every aspect of participation in the art market, including online sales, can be conducted via the Internet (98% of participants are connected to Internet); a financialisation of the art market’s high-end fostered by its stability and transparency; a rapid increase in the art-buying population from roughly 500,000 after 1945 to approximately 90 million in 2018; a significant reduction in the average age of market players and a major geographical expansion of the market to nearly all of Asia, the Pacific Rim, India, South Africa, the Middle-East and South America.

Top 10 Take Aways

1. Global auction turnover on Fine Art* rose 18%, totalling $8.45 billion

2. Transaction numbers remained stable with 262,000 lots sold, up 2.5% vs. H1 2017

3. The USA posted a massive 48% increase, with total turnover of $3.3 billion

4. China*, with $2 billion in turnover, reduced its unsold rate before a decisive H2

5. The UK, with auction turnover up 18% to $1.9 billion, is just behind China

6. The EU is contributing to growth: France +8%, Germany +17%, Italy +22%

7. Modern Art, the mainstay of the market’s high-end, accounted for 46% of total turnover

8. Modigliani and Picasso both scored results above $100 million threshold

9. Zao Wou-Ki was China‘s best-performer in H1 2018 with total sales of $155 million

10. Contemporary Art’s global price index rose 27%, a serious competitor of the S&P 500

Another massive Art Market driver is the new-era museum industry (700 new museums per year) that has become a significant economic reality in the 21st century. More museums opened between 2000 and 2014 than in the previous two centuries.

Hungry for museum quality works, this sector is one of the primary drivers of the Art Market’s spectacular growth. The Art Market is now both mature and liquid, offering yields of 10% to 15% per year on works valued over $100,000.

Considering these macro- and micro-economic data, the past 18 years have confirmed the Art Market’s potential as a safe haven against economic and financial turbulence, generating substantial and recurring yields.

With central banks effectively working in a negative interest rate environment, the Art Market looks very healthy by comparison having posted a 2,108% growth in the annual auction turnover of its Contemporary segment over the past 18 years. The global Art Market has also posted linear growth

In the average value of an artwork (Old, Modern and Contemporary) of +25% over the same period. If we look at the Contemporary segment alone, the progression is +88%.

These returns are not just reserved for “star” artists. We find a substantial average annual yield of +9% on works sold above the €20,000 threshold.

The Artprice100® shows a progression of +360% since 2000. These kinds of statistics continue to paint the Art Market in a growth trajectory.