This artist's market report for the 2016 Frieze sales was prepared in part with data gathered and charts created by Athena Art Finance. This report is available to AMMpro subscribers. Subscriptions come with a one-month grace period. Feel free to register to read the report and, if you don't like it, cancel your subscription before you are charged.
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Alighiero Boetti's market has proved quite strong in recent years. Boetti is the first of the Arte Povera artists to see work break out on the market; and he is one of the few artists from that movement to have a large and liquid market. In fact, Boetti was the artist with the most works offered during the London sales timed to coincide with the Frieze art fair.
The trading in Boetti tells us a bit about the state of the artist's market. There has been a great deal of activity in Boetti's market over the last decade. In 2014, three of the top prices for the artist's work were set. That recalibration set off a cascade of price appreciation in the Boetti market as 15 of the top 30 prices for the artist were achieved since 2014. Two of those top three works were relatively rare and unique. One was a large embroidery work from the 1970s.
During the Italian art sales of 2016, Christie's had hoped to set a new top price for the artist's Tutto series with a work estimated at between £1.8 and £2.2m which, had it sold just at the low estimate, would have established both a price substantially higher than any other Tutto previously sold and either the second highest price for the artist or a new record.
The work did not sell and Christie's suggested its failure was due to the absence of Chinese bidders who had previously been moving Boetti's market. But a look at the data from the London sales suggests the artist's market may be consolidating at the top while works at the lower end of the oeuvre gain in value.
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