Economically speaking, 2012 was dismal in many parts of the world, but the art market again demonstrated astonishing resilience, racking up records at the top end and maintaining some momentum at the bottom end, even if the middle market found the going tough.
Overall, according to the art site Artprice.com, sales of fine art at auction until just before Christmas were more than $9bn, and are expected to top $10bn once complete figures for the year are in. This shows a contraction compared with 2011’s record-breaking $11.8bn, but nonetheless should beat 2010, the second-highest grossing year with $9.5bn.
Contemporary art rules the roost
2012 was notable for the continuing strength of the market for postwar and contemporary art, with a bias towards the “blue-chip” end. Impressionist and modern art, once the bedrock of the market, is being edged out by contemporary. While the highest price ever given at auction was set this year by Munch’s “The Scream” (1895), at almost $120m, postwar and contemporary art represented 33 per cent of the market in 2012 with just over $3bn, up from 28 per cent in 2011.
To read more of the Financial Times’ article, click here.