Working from ArtPrice’s annual list of the top 500 artist auction volumes, there are some interesting numbers in the Top 50 that both reflect on the rising demand for some artists but also the general rise in price level.
- At the very top, Andy Warhol‘s total sale volume rose 4% on a .5% rise in lots sold. Other high volume artists like Alexander Calder and Marc Chagall also saw impressive upward movements. Calder’s dollar volume rose 30% on 10% greater number of lots; Chagall had an even more impressive 56% price appreciation on the same 10% lot increase.
- Confirming the headline interest in Gerhard Richter‘s work, the overall lots volume went up less than 1% while the total price paid for his work at auction rose a stunning 161%.
- Even where auction lots fell, an artist like Jean-Michel Basquiat was slightly higher in overall sales (almost 5%) even though the number of lots fell 20%.
- Meanwhile, somewhat hidden were big jumps in the markets for Wayne Thiebaud (5x the total $ on 2x the total lots), LS Lowry (a 4x rise to $41m) and Stanley Spencer (a spectacular 16-fold increase even though only 4 times the lots were sold, admittedly this was a very thin market.)