Colin Gleadell has done a little number crunching to show the tapering down of the art market as measured by the upcoming sales in London in October.
At the equivalent auctions last October, 884 lots were crammed into the week with a minimum estimate of £185 million. This year there are 746 lots (down 15.6 per cent) with a minimum estimate of £131.5 million (down 29.2 per cent). The statistics follow the trend this year after London’s contemporary art auction results fell by 36 per cent in February, and by 49 per cent in June.
Depending on the results, Gleadell’s numbers suggest that the market may be reaching its new level. The pace of contraction seems to be slowing.
To take Gleadell’s analysis a little further, Christie’s accounts for 44% of the lots on offer between the three houses. There’s an additional sale of Leslie Waddington’s estate but the numbers are still skewed toward King Street with 38% of the lots excluding Waddington.
Phillips continues to push its way toward being a first tier player with a solid 25% of the lots. Sotheby’s seems to be showing the most tactical caution with about 31% of the lots.