Artprice has released its regular report on the first half of 2018’s sales. They’ve tallied $8.45bn in total auction sales with Christie’s and Sotheby’s making $5.2bn or 61.5% of those sales.
How does 2018 stack up against recent years’ performance? Artprice says it’s an 18% rise in dollar volume against a 2.5% rise in lot volume which reached 262,000 lots worldwide.
These overall numbers suggest a strong year for 2018. The H1 total puts 2018 fourth among the last 11 years Artprice is charting (see below.)
Artprice also charts the top 20 artists by sales volume. (We’ve added average price for each artist to the chart.) Picasso, Monet and Warhol are hardly strangers to the top spots. The market is increasingly familiar with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s position of value.
The $154m for Zao Wou-ki is worth noting because of Zao’s international appeal. Other Chinese artists on the list like Qi Baishi and Zhang Daqian have strong positions without straddling collectors in both hemispheres.
Gerhard Richter remains on the list despite a substantial drop in sales volume, especially for his more recognizable works. David Hockney has risen to a position just below him. Their average prices are remarkably close for two living octogenarian artists.