Editorial by thierry Ehrmann, Founder/CEO of Artprice by Art Market

thierry Ehrmann, founder and CEO of Artprice by Art Market

In commercial terms, the trade in Contemporary artworks is today a veritable market within a market. Our 21st Contemporary Art Market Report focuses on the over 70,000 Contemporary works now bought and sold annually at auctions around the world. This is almost the same number as for the entire Art Market in the early 1990s.

In order to optimise their objectivity and coherency, our annual reports are based on exactly the same standardization methods and frames of reference every year and therefore represent an absolutely unique analysis of the Art Market over the long term. Moreover, our work substantially contributes to enhancing the market’s transparency and fluidity by actively contributing to the traceability of works and the gradual and continuous construction of artists’ prices based on their auction histories, supply and demand, and all the other available information and news.

The Contemporary Art segment may be the market’s most volatile segment, but it is not ‘speculative’ in the negative sense of the word. Most Contemporary artists are alive today, so the segment naturally generates the highest returns on investment because the value of the works is itself being created, little by little, as the artists’ productions expands and each artist finds his or her place in Art History.

Our Report presents a global, clear and precise analysis of the Contemporary Art Market, which complements the micro-and macro-economic research and analysis tools offered by Artprice subscriptions. It analyses all the health indicators of the Contemporary Art Market and summarises the main trends that have swept the market over the last twelve months. This Report therefore represents an essential reference for all players in this Art Market, from art-lovers and young collectors to market professionals and international institutions. It allows everyone to obtain a clear understanding of their own collections based on the evolution of the Art Market and of all the social, economic and geopolitical tensions that affect it.

In an age when singularity is increasingly reproved and censured, Contemporary Art represents one of the last bastions of free and individual expression.

For many art collectors, the art of collecting involves acquiring the right work by the right artist at the right moment. When these three ‘criteria’ are clearly satisfied, the result is often a ‘historical transaction’. This was the case last week (3 October) when Sotheby’s London offered Devolved Parliament by anonymous artist Banksy, fetching a stunning new record of $12 million (£9.9 million). The piece is clearly a major work by an artist whose prices are rocketing… but it is also a painting that literally apes the British Parliament… and it was offered for sale at a critical moment in Britain’s history as the British parliament finds itself in an untenable position over Brexit.

In an age when singularity is increasingly reproved and censured, Contemporary Art represents one of the last bastions of free and individual expression.