Updated Data from London’s Contemporary Art Market
London’s Contemporary art sales were a tough battle in the face of unprecedented turmoil in the financial markets. Reserves were lowered and sell-through suffered but when you take a step back, the numbers are surprisingly . . . good.
You can see from the chart above that October’s sales were still way ahead of last year’s. If one includes Damien Hirst’s Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale in the totals, you get yearly sales that look like this:
Some of the expansion comes from the fact that buyers from the so-called emerging markets buy and sell in London. But this growth has not come at the expense of the New York sales. And it hasn’t come because the auction houses are selling more lots (the following charts do not include data from the Hirst sale):
In February of 2007, the number of lots jumped dramatically. Since then, the number of works changing hands has stayed within a range. But the percentage of lots sold has dropped steadily.
Even with that significant drop, the average lot value for the October sales has gone way up.