Some reporters finally got a chance to read Clare McAndrew’s TEFAF Report for 2014. They’re struck by the fact that a very small number of artworks account for an overwhelming proportion of the art market’s value. And even fewer artists catch the eye of collectors.
Here’s what Mike Boehm pulled out of the report:
The report found that 8% of the art auctioned worldwide in 2013 accounted for 82% of the money spent. In the United States, the ratio was even more skewed: 7.5% of the works auctioned raked in 91.2% of the bucks.
While auction sales accounted for only 47% of the $63 billion or so spent on art worldwide, the report’s author, arts economist Clare McAndrew, wrote that the same phenomenon applies across the board: “a small number of [artists] accounting for an increasingly large share of total sales….is also true of the dealer market, with high-end dealers commenting that their top collectors appeared to be interested in the work of only about 50 to 100 artists.”
Those numbers can be slightly deceiving though. McAndrew says the volume of works sold in 2013 was 36.5m objects. Eight percent of those works would be 2.9m art works. McAndrew generally says that half of the art is sold privately and the other half at auction. So that tiny percentage still represents more than a million lots.