This market history is available to AMMpro subscribers. Parts of it were published in The Art Newspaper in 2012. This is an expanded version published here in that year (republished Feb 28, 2017). Sign up for AMMpro here.
When ArtPrice published its top 50 European Contemporary artists earlier the Spring oof 2012, it was not surprising to see Damien Hirst ranked first but it was something of a wake-up call to see Spanish painter Miquel Barceló sitting in the second spot. Barceló, who had an extraordinary year on the auction market in 2011, had sold €12.8m (more than $20m.) That was slightly more than Anselm Kiefer and substantially more than Peter Doig, Urs Fischer, Andreas Gursky and Maurizio Cattelan—all of whom receive far more press attention.
Barceló’s moment in the market sun did not come after a steady rise in prices and growing number of works on offer—but in a rush of record-setting sales. The painter’s 2011 auction turnover was twenty times the prior year’s sales and double his prior peak year in 2007.
Although a record setting $1.4 million was paid at Christie’s in London during an earlier market rush in 2002—and similar prices were achieved at Christie’s sale in Madrid in 2006 and a Phillips London sale in June of 2007—it was not until 2011 that Barceló’s market set up to run from $2 million to a peak of $6 million last June followed by strong sales that confirmed these new prices were no fluke.
“I think the most important European collectors,” observes Beatriz Ordovas, the Christie’s specialist who played an important role in this growth, “they want to have a major Barceló painting in their collection and they’re going for the best.”
Sign up to Art Market Monitor Premium today
You need a membership to AMMpro to view this article and other exclusive content daily.
You can register today for $90 per month—with your first month free!—or for $756 per year (no free trial period.)
If you already have an account, sign in here: