This analysis of the 12 years of Evening sales at Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips was made possible with data from our friends at Pi-eX. It is available to AMMpro subscribers. Subscriptions begin with a free month for the curious. (Please note: these numbers do not include single-owner and curated sales that have punctuated the market at various times. The point of these charts is to show year-over-year changes and so the single-owner and curated sales are thought to interfere with a consistent comparison.)
This is the first of a series of posts on the auction market over the last 12 years. The chart above shows the number of lots sold in the Evening sales in New York and London. These numbers exclude special sales of either single-owner collections or curated sales. What we're trying to provide here is a year-over-year look at the auction market as it appears in Evening sales in New York and London.
What the data shows is three distinct phases. The first is the peak of the last boom and the fall out of the financial crisis. The second is the asset reflation period from 2010 to 2015 when the art market presented surprising growth in the face of a broader global climate of uncertainty. The third phase we see in these charts is the last three years where total volume of lots sold has been consistently lower than the second phase.
Remember, because we are only looking at Evening sales in Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art in London and New York and excluding special sales, we're not measuring the entire art market. All this chart shows is that the number of lots sold in New York and London in the Evening sales remains fairly consistent over these periods. The latest phase may simply reflect the recognition that works of art at the top of the market are so valuable these days. The number of lots sold may reflect the auction houses' allocation of resources. But because these are sold lots we also have some sense of the demand.
We can see a fair bit more when we shift toward looking at the value numbers.
Sign up to Art Market Monitor Premium today
You need a membership to AMMpro to view this article and other exclusive content daily.
You can register today for $90 per month—with your first month free!—or for $756 per year (no free trial period.)
If you already have an account, sign in here: