Two weeks ago, we told AMMpro subscribers about the updraft in the Picasso market. For a number of different reasons, the Spanish master has become the driver of the broader art market. Yes, Picasso is always among the artists with the highest market volume. But that doesn’t mean his work cannot gain relative value.
This week The Art Newspaper follows with their own analysis. Their look combines interviews with commentators on the Gurr Johns buying spree (which is a sideshow to the real story and may be more symptom than cause) and some broader academic analysis by Roman Kraussl. The chart above is Kraussl’s which shows the volume of works (not dollar volume) and a price index (with little indication of the methodology behind the index.)
The Art Newspaper’s work shows that over the last 20 years there has been a broad-but-not-explosive six-fold rise in the average price of an Evening sale Picasso:
since 1998, the average price for an evening-sale Picasso has gone from around $1.2m to around $7.5m.
More important to the present market is the fact that, even with the record sale in 2015 of Femmes d’Algiers (Version ‘O’), the market has been starved for high quality work. What makes 2018 different from other years is not the presence of a market-topping work, even though one is possibly coming next month in the Rockefeller sale, but the number of work selling at higher values than before that already sold in London.
So the news from London isn’t the bulk buying of Gurr Johns’s client but the broad prices paid by a number of buyers, including the Gurr Johns client. There’s also the issue of market share which you can read more about in our London Impressionist and Modern auction analysis.