Now that the 2016 sales are halfway done, with London coming up in a few weeks to inaugurate the second half of the sales year, we’re getting more visibility on the Warhol market and the Calder market. Last week’s sales saw Calder out sell Warhol by a significant number. Even though the total hammer price of Calders just reached the low estimate, the total sale of $51.7m with premium nearly tripled the Warhol total of $22m which was well below the low estimate.
Warhol suffered from a major pause in the artist’s market with few works on offer and the highest value, a Liz with rough registration that probably never should have come to auction, failing to find a buyer.
The result, in a chart, above, using Artnet’s data, puts Calder slightly ahead of Warhol on total sales, an unheard of situation as the stunning chart above shows. On average price, below, the chart shows a dramatic inversion. Andy Warhol has a been a pillar of the Contemporary art market since 2000. Whether this current pullback in his market is a sign of a structural change or simply a reaction to the 2014 peak (similar, perhaps, to the much smaller Hirst market which never fully recovered from the 2008 Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale) is something to watch for over the next year and more.