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We've tried to quantify the drop in Andy Warhol's market. The 74% fall in sales volume is both dramatic and unsettling, especially when no serious participant in the art market will say that demand for Warhol has diminished. The dislocation of supply, caused by the rapid rise of art values from 2010-2015, is probably the reason for Warhol's market absence. Still, without significant works by Warhol on the block, there is a question of market leadership.
For more than a decade, Warhol has provided a substantial portion of the Contemporary market's sales volume. The Pop artist's work pushed the Contemporary market ahead in boom times and provided blue-chip shelter in bad times. Until now. The Warhol market has not disappeared but, as the following charts show, it is no longer the dominant force in contemporary art.
While considering that, we also wondered how big a force the market for works by Gerhard Richter had become. In both cases, it is the fact that these prolific artists have substantial bodies of work that trade in the eight-figure range that makes their work so consequential for the market. The art market is nothing if not top-heavy in the 21st century.
Such a big question requires thorough analysis. We hope to present, in the coming weeks and months, several different looks at the relationship between Richter, Warhol and the overall market going back several years. But a preliminary run of data by Athena Art Finance has revealed an interesting dynamic.
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