This analysis of the Spring to Summmer 2021 New York, London and Paris auctions at Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
After a tumultuous period during the first phase of the pandemic, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips have bounced back in 2021 to sale levels not seen since the last market peak in 2015.
An analysis of data across 13 modern and contemporary art sales that took place at the three houses between New York, London, and Paris from April through July shows abiding strength. During that time the three houses brought in a total of $1.74 billion. This up from the $1.1 billion achieved in global evening and day sales during the same period in 2020. Pablo Picasso and Jean-Michel Basquiat led the comeback. Emerging names like Flora Yukhnovich, Salman Toor, and Cinga Samson are also on the rise.
Auction house executives have pointed to several reasons for the return to animal spirits in the art market. A boost in buying from clients based in Asia is one reason they cite. A balance between the supply of top works available on the market and demand is another. Basically, strong sales have encouraged owners of the most valuable property that now is the time to sell.
Unlike the uptick in Asia, market hubs in the have West plateaued year-over-year. According to a recent report published by London art market data firm Pi-eX, auctions in North America, which is typically the largest regional market, fell even further in 2021. The U.S. saw a 16-percent drop from its 2019 sales volume instead.