While old economies are struggling, growth is accelerating in the BRICS countries. The five BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – have been enjoying much stronger economic expansion than the developed countries and China’s growth in particular has profoundly modified the geographical structure of the global art market according to thierry Ehrmann, the founder and CEO of Artprice, the world leader in art market information. Moreover, in Singapore, Beijing and Hong Kong, politicians are aware of the enormous economic potential of art for their state or their city, and their governments strongly support major cultural events including Contemporary Art fairs. In addition to the 49% growth in auction revenue from artworks in China, a number of other Asian countries have also posted particularly dynamic growth, such as Singapore (+22%) and Indonesia (+39%).
This growth has been driven by the emergence of new and very wealthy collectors and a growing number of art investment funds. As a result, the Asian art market has become the most high-end area of the entire globe. For example, 12.1% of works sold in Asia sell for between $100,000 and $1m, versus 2.2% for the rest of the world. China, Asia’s leading economic power and world leader for sales of artworks, has surprised everyone not just by its acquisitive capacity but also by its independence. It accounts for the highest auction results (with 774 auction results above $1 million recorded in 2011 compared with 426 in the USA and 377 in the UK), mostly generated at auctions in Beijing and Hong Kong. Even if China were deprived of the strong Hong Kong sales of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, it would easily remain the first global marketplace!
In 2011, the global art auction market generated 21% more than in 2010 and there is not a single segment of the art market that did not progress in terms of turnover. Compared with 2010, Modern art added $1.2B, Post-war art added $372m, Contemporary art added $291m, Old Masters added $124 million and 19th century art posted an increase of $43 million. In addition, bulimic buying has not left any medium on the side-lines. 2011 saw the sale of more paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings and even prints than 2010. Indeed, driven by the rocketing prices of the Chinese Old and Modern masters, drawing has really come into its own, with its annual revenue up by $1.318 billion over the year.
This year, Artprice’s annual art market report – based on 6.3 million auction results from 4,500 auction houses around the world and distributed to over 6,300 media organisations and international institutions every year in 6 languages – will focus particularly on China’s successful conquest of the global art market. Our 2011 Art Market Trends contain macro- and micro-economic analyses providing the keys to understanding the annual evolution of the global auction market. It discusses the major trends in the market, analysed throughout the year on the ArtMarketInsight page of our website, by the Artprice press agency and by our Econometrics Department. To complement this objective appreciation of the art market based on a year of global auction results, Artprice also offers numerous original rankings such as the Top 500 artists by auction revenue and the Top 100 auction results of the year.