Convalescing in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, the global art business has fully recovered in 2021.
Brilliant and ” supercharged “, This year was even one of the best years in the history of the world art market, notes the latest annual report of Art Market Monitor of Artron (AMMA) and Artprice.com which brings to 17 billion dollars of works sold in the world, up 60% compared to 2020, a record number of transactions (664,000 lots, almost a third more than last year), and even an infamous unsold rate (at 31% against an average oscillating between 34 and 39% of previous years).
Collectors’ appetite in 2021 offered price records to many great artists (Botticelli, Pollock, Caillebotte, Kahlo, Banksy, etc.) and the international star ratings continued to grow to offer some spectacular sellers, in particular on New York and Hong Kong Auction Markets.
The NFT switch
But 2021 will above all be a historic turning point in the art market with the arrival of NFT works among stellar transactions. Start this’ systemic revolution », To use the Artprice qualifier, the sale of Beeple’s work, Every day: the first 5000 days for almost 69.35 million dollars, it pushed its author, hitherto unknown to auction houses, in the top 20 of the highest paid artists in the world, just ahead of Magritte!
A super transaction that has given wings to several of its acolytes (Larva Labs, creator of CryptoPunks, Yuga Labs with its Bored Ape, etc.), and which, above all, has led the traditional market to innovate (fragmented and on a large scale ). unlimited sales of a Sotheby’s collective work with Pak, NFT of paintings by masters…).
” The NFTs have achieved in a few months a real revolution in the art market […] first by appealing to young collectors passionate about new technologies and cryptocurrencies, then to traditional collectors », Artprice observes.
The platform lists just under 300 NFT lots sold at regulated auctions in 2021 for a total amount of € 232 million, or ” a negligible share compared to the $ 40 billion worth of crypto-art traded on the Ethereum blockchain in 2021 “, which already represents more than the segment of photography at auction …
Top 10 artworks auctioned in 2021 *
- Pablo Picasso, Woman sitting near a window (Marie-Thérèse)1932: $ 103,410,000 (Christie’s)
- Jean-Michel Basquiat, In this case1983: $ 93,105,000 (Christie’s)
- Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of a young man holding a roundel : $ 92,184,000 (Sotheby’s)
- Marco Rothko, No.71951: $ 82,468,500 (Sotheby’s)
- Alberto Giacometti, The nose1949: $ 78,396,000 (Sotheby’s) (in the illustration of this article)
- Vincent Van Gogh, Wooden huts among olive and cypress trees1889: $ 71,350,000 (Christie’s)
- Claude Monet, Water lily pond1917-1919: € 70,353,000 (Sotheby’s)
- Beep, Every day: the first 5000 days2021: $ 69,346,250 (Christie’s)
- Xu Yang, figure : $ 64.735.938 (Poly. Int.)
- Jackson Pollock, Number 17, 19511951: $ 61,161,000 (Sotheby’s)
The 10 best artists of 2021 *
- Pablo Picasso (1881-1973): $ 671,513,270 (3,452 lots sold)
- Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988): $ 439,339,428 (104 lots sold)
- Andy Warhol (1928-1987): $ 348,346,957 (1,586 lots sold)
- Claude Monet (1840-1926): $ 305,681,901 (26 lots sold)
- Gerhard Richter (1932): $ 246,594,842 (298 lots sold)
- Zhang Daqian (1899-1983): $ 240,252,191 (467 lots sold)
- Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890): $ 235,361,570 (24 lots sold)
- Banksy (1974): $ 205,850,311 (1,186 lots sold)
- Cy Twombly (1928-2011): $ 182,820,148 (87 lots sold)
- Yayoi Kusama (1929): $ 178,196,157 (778 lots sold)
* By annual turnover.
The five record capital gains on the art market in 2021
- Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (One-Eyed Man), 1982. Purchased for $ 23,100 in 1987, sold for $ 30,173,038 on May 21
- Liu Ye, Yellow and blue for M1995. Purchased for $ 4,462 in 1995, sold for $ 1,131,190 on April 21
- Zhang Daqian, Temple at the peak of the mountain1967. Purchased for $ 259,000 in 1967, sold for $ 26,928,944 on May 21
- Kenneth Noland, Without title1956. Purchased for $ 1,320 in 1986, sold for $ 126,000 on March 21
- Zao Wou-kiZitterlein1956. Purchased for $ 54,950 in 2002, sold for $ 4,725,761 on June 21
*Source of the rankings for the article: artacchetti/AMMA, The art market in 2021.
2021, a good year for France
China and the United States, which together account for more than two-thirds of business by value, had $ 5.9 billion and $ 5.7 billion in transactions respectively in 2021. Far behind, France, ranked 4th after the United Kingdom, for its part, for the first time exceeded one billion dollars in exchanged works, driven in particular by the excellent sales of the Christie’s and Sotheby’s houses, such as two paintings by Magritte (Vendetta$ 17.2 million and The art of conversation$ 14.4 million), a Van Gogh (Street scene in Montmartre$ 15.4 million), or even a sale by François-Xavier Lalanne, which alone brought in $ 89 million.
More than 8 out of 10 sales do not exceed $ 10,000
Market showcases, works of several tens of millions of dollars represent only a small part of all transactions. According to the AMMA-Artprice report, nearly half of the works sold last year for less than $ 1,000 and 82% at a price of less than or equal to $ 10,000.
Transactions made between $ 100,000 and $ 1 million accounted for 2% of the lots and those over $ 1 million, 0.2% of the jobs. As for the “mega deals” segment, 167 works were sold for over $ 10 million each, double the amount in 2020.
And, of course, if the share of millionaire works is very low, their value represents a considerable weight: accumulating over 8 billion dollars in transactions over the year, they represented more than half of the world turnover in 2021!