Artprice’s recently released report on the Contemporary art market contains these interesting observations on the disappearance of French artists from the market as London dominates sales:
The UK, as uncontested European leader, totalled €231.9 million, €10 million more than the previous year.
The London market represents 77% of the European market 7 and 10 times the performances of Paris (€23 million).
France, no. 4 worldwide in terms of total sales, experienced a slowdown with a total for the year down by 10% (€26.3 million, i.e. 1.75% of the global market)
Of the 100 best-performing contemporary artists in the world, 47 are Chinese, 19 American, 10 British and 9 German, but there are no French artists in the list. The leading artist is still Robert Combas, lying in 134th place. There is nothing speculative about the French market, and the best lever for increasing artists’ value is still recognition by London or New York, which favour names that are already firmly established in the history of art rather than young talent. As witness the most expensive artists in the French scene, Pierre Soulages and Martial Raysse, two visual artists who are still alive, born respectively in 1919 and 1936, and are thus not included in so-called “contemporary” rankings according to a date of birth after 1945. Pierre Soulages is now the 26th highest priced living artist in the world (with total sales of €27.3 million) and Martial Raysse the 29th (with €9.6 million). The Paris marketplace has achieved some fine auction results thanks to them, but records are made in London rather than in Paris.