This detailed analysis of the February Contemporary art sales in New York was made possible with data from our friends at Live Auction Art. It is available to AMMpro subscribers. Subscriptions begin with a free month for the curious.
The top lot in London's Contemporary art auctions at Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips may have been a $50m David Hockney double portrait but the sales were significant for their shift to lower priced works. The sales overall offered fewer lots than the previous year and generated lower overall revenues than the previous year. The combined total for March 2018 was £347m against a total of £251m this year. The pre-sale low estimate for 2019 was down 25% from 2018; the premium totals for the sales were down slightly more at 27.6%. The Evening sale total was down 27% but the day sales were down almost 30%.
Day sale growth has been integral to the growth of the Contemporary art market recently. That growth seemed to have reached a limit last Fall in New York. It is true that the Mid-Season sales in New York held around the same time were up substantially which might have taken some dollar volume away from the London sales. We'll have to wait until the Contemporary day sales in New York to get a better sense of where that middle market is moving.
In the meantime, it is worth taking a close look at the London results if for no other reason than to pay attention to the dramatic changes in market share from last year to this year. Before we get there, let's look at sales statistics for the Contemporary Day and Evening sales. The £208m London Evening sales had a potent 91% sell-through rate which is partly explained by the generous use of third-party guarantees in the category. Third Party Guarantees in London were also used for lots carrying low estimates starting at £600k.
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: