Having noticed the growing number of works created in the 1960s that have begun to dominate the Contemporary art sales, we asked the good people at Artnet to provide us with enough data to see better how 1960s works have come into their own. Artnet looked at the top 1000 works for each year between 2000 and 2014, then they gave us the works created in the 1960s that appeared on those lists. Karolina Prawdzik turned that data into these charts.
The chart above shows the share of the top 1000 works that were created in the 1960s. Remember that many of Contemporary art’s blue chip artists did their seminal work in the decade: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko, and Yves Klein. There are also Modern artists like Giacometti and Picasso who created works in the 1960s that became more sought after.
The market share chart shows the financial crisis taking a serious toll on the sales and valuation of works from the 60s. During the trough of 2009 and 2010, record-setting sales took place but not at high enough valuations to regain the peak of 2007. Last year, works from the 1960s, including the Francis Bacon triptych that is the world’s most valuable painting sold at auction pushed the 60s works into new territory.
Since Warhol’s major works are from the 1960s and Warhol has been a central driver of the art market this last decade, it is not a surprise to see the total sales value of 1960s work chart a different path. Here the steep drop caused by the financial crisis is fairly short and sharp with total sales value regaining the 2007 heights quickly and exceeding them by 2012.
Finally, the average price for works from the 196os in Artnet’s top 1000 lots sold each year from 2000-2014 is a fairly continuous upward trend only interrupted by the financial crisis and a pullback in ’11 & ’12. This final chart suggests that works from the 1960s are entering something of their prime, sufficiently remote in time to represent real art historical value but also within living memory of many of today’s collectors.
Data Courtesy of Artnet