Artprice: billion-dollar price range is looming

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'Money' image courtesy of 401kcalculator.org

The art market is fast heading towards the billion-dollar price range, according to art index databank Artprice.

The idea of billion dollar art has already been proposed by the art market journalist Georgina Adam, in her book “Big Bucks: The explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century,” in which she quotes Francis Outred, head of Christie’s Contemporary Art department, as saying that he expects to see a Contemporary artwork fetch $1 billion.

Now, on the eve of the launch of its 13th Annual Global Art Market Report, Artprice has issued a release saying that Outred is right.

“The art market’s financial firepower keeps on changing scale,” said Artprice. “After stagnating at a top range of around $10 million in the 1980s, the top prices of individual artworks reached the $100 million threshold in the 2000s, and according to the New York Times, on 5 February 2015, a Qatari buyer paid $300 million for a work by Gauguin. Artprice believes this scale is fast heading towards the billion-dollar price range.”

What’s more, Artprice argues that we are not witnessing a bubble that’s destined to burst.

“We confirm the historic and irreversible transformation of the art market, a transformation that, among other changes, removes the spectre of speculative bubbles,” said Artprice. “This report will highlight the phenomenal growth, in less than twenty years, of the number of participants, buyers and sellers in the art market, an evolution that can only be observed on a logarithmic scale.”

This 13th Annual Global Art Market Report required the full support of Artprice’s publishing partner AMMA/ARTRON (Art Market Monitor of Artron), the only Chinese quasi-State institution allowing both partners to produce data that had never previously been processed due to a lack of completeness, resources and State authorization.

“Artprice has no qualms whatsoever in stating that so-called Western studies of the Chinese Art Market are based, at best, on fanciful assumptions. This report will finally allow a clear and transparent understanding of the Art Market in both the West and the East,” said Artprice.

It said that the Contemporary art market, which has grown by a factor of 10 between 2000 and 2014, perfectly illustrates the transformation of the art market. Similarly, the unsold rate, the most significant universal marker of a speculative or falling market, has remained perfectly stable in 2014.

The double-digit growth of the art market, in a world where economies and economic growth are faltering, is the perfect indication that a disruptive economy is at work, said Artprice.

“A detailed focus on Free Ports which are popping up on every continent, will allow the reader of Artprice’s Annual Report to understand the phenomenon of the growing virtualization of the art market.”

Artprice said that one of the major conclusions its annual report allows is that the art market, for countries and for natural or legal persons alike, has rediscovered the ‘power of art’ that reigned for more than seven centuries in Europe. The fierce competition, especially between China and the USA, is analyzed comprehensively in the report.

It also highlights the massive presence of Contemporary and living artists in the top 500 artists ranked by auction turnover.

“It is a totally new phenomenon in the history of the art market, which has never experienced a situation where a living artist, formerly destined to poverty, is an active player in his own market,” said Artprice. “Today the artist has become a powerful ‘market maker’ – free from all tutelage.”