If you didn’t make it to Frieze, Vernissage TV’s tour of the fair is good way to get a taste of what visitors saw. Although sales were reported, there wasn’t a sense of market frenzy. The same tone seemed to hover over the auctions in London where Italian art created all of the heat and chatter.
So we asked Karolina Prawdzik to put together an overview chart of the Contemporary art sales in London during Frieze week from 2005 to today. What we saw was interesting, especially when we looked beneath the headlines of the evening sale and isolated the Contemporary day sales. Below you’ll see two charts comparing the average price (blue line) with the total sales volume (bars) for the Frieze Contemporary sales overall including Evening and Day sales (first chart) and then just the Day sales (bottom chart.)
The point of isolating the Day sales is to look at the day-to-day business of demand for Contemporary art. As we all know, value congregates in a few pieces by a few artists. The day sales present a broader look at demand.
From these charts you can see that volume and average prices for Day sale material is only now matching or exceeding the peak of 2007. Though the overall market, helped by the high flying Evening sales regained that ground two years ago.
If the Day sale numbers are finally back at 2007 levels, the fever pitch of the market certainly isn’t. For those who want to believe that the art market has entered a new phase, strong numbers amid sober expectations is a good combination.