Global Art Market Continues Breaking Records As Auction Activity Heats Up

The global art market saw a record-breaking year in 2021, with total auction turnover hitting new highs in terms of total sales volume and number of lots sold. 2022 is turning out to be an even more impressive year so far as art values and buying activity hit new highs.

The Artprice Contemporary Art Index is currently up 16.2% year to date, compared to the S&P 500 that’s down nearly 14% over the same period.

Andy Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” just fetched $195 million at Christie's in New York last month during the auction house’s Spring Marquee Week, the highest amount ever paid at auction for a 20th-century work of art. Warhol now ranks ahead of Picasso and just behind Leonardo da Vinci in terms of all-time art auction records.

Christie’s Spring Marquee Week exceeded nearly $1.44 billion in auction sales, including the iconic Man Ray masterpiece “Le Violon d’Ingres” that set a record for a photograph with a sale price of $12,412,500.

Sotheby’s also set a record last month as it wrapped up its two-part sale of the Macklowe Collection. Over the course of two sales, one in November 2021, and the other in May 2022, the Macklowe Collection reached $922.2 million to become the most expensive collection ever sold in auction history.

Much of the recent growth in the art market can be attributed to the greater access investors have now that most major auctions are held online. The global pandemic forced the major auction houses to transition to online platforms, which has significantly lowered the barrier to entry for new collectors and investors.

Another reason for this growth is that retail investors can now buy shares of blue-chip art through Regulation A offerings on alternative investment platforms. Masterworks has become one of the most active buyers in the market over the past couple of years and has contributed over $400 million to the art market by purchasing iconic works, securitizing them and allowing investors to purchase shares.

Related: Fractional Investment Offering For $2 Million Albert Oehlen Painting Now Live

Christie’s landmark auction series, 20th/21st Century Art, returns this month in London and Paris, with the headline auctions being held on June 28, 2022. Iconic works from Andy Warhol will be up for grabs during the Post War and Contemporary Art Day Sale on June 29, 2022 in Paris and on July 1, 2022 in London.

Photo by Casimiro PT on Shutterstock

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