Report: World contemporary art market resists economic slowdown

An untitled 1981 Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) acrylic, oilstick and spray paint on wood artwork sold for $16.3 million (est. $8 million to $12 million) at Phillips de Pury's May 10, 2012 Contemporary Art auction. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Phillips de Pury & Co.

An untitled 1981 Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) acrylic, oilstick and spray paint on wood artwork sold for $16.3 million (est. $8 million to $12 million) at Phillips de Pury’s May 10, 2012 Contemporary Art auction. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Phillips de Pury & Co.

PARIS (AFP) – The world contemporary art market is holding up despite a global economic slowdown, with 2011/2012 auctions returning the third biggest revenues in history, says a report obtained exclusively by AFP.

Receipts from auctions held between June 2011 and June 2012 declined six percent to 860 million euros ($1.1 billion) from a record a year ago of 915 million euros, according to a report from Artprice, which tracks the contemporary art market.

The drop is not alarming, as the overall result counts as the third best performance in history, said the report on public auctions of works by artists born after 1945.

Julian Ellison, CEO of LiveAuctioneers.com, the Manhattan-based provider of Internet live bidding to more than 1,300 auction houses worldwide, agrees.

“Fine art has weathered the ups and downs of the world economy with great agility,” Ellison said. “We are seeing continued interest and strong prices for contemporary and Asian art, in particular.”

Asia had the biggest appetite for contemporary art over the past year, comprising 43 percent of receipts, while Europe accounted for just under 30 percent.

Some 662 contemporary works sold for over 100,000 euros between July 2011 and June 2012 in Asia, compared to just 382 in the United States and 324 in Europe.

By country, China topped the list, accounting for 38.8 percent of auction revenues, up from third place a year ago.

The United States was the second biggest market with 26.1 percent of the total revenues, followed by Britain with 22.6 percent of the market.

France was at fourth place, but with just 2.5 percent of the world market.

For centuries the worldwide art market was dominated by a few European auction houses, but a new generation of collectors in Beijing and Shanghai has pushed China to the forefront in recent years.

The contemporary art market recorded its best annual sales in 2007-2008, when revenues cleared 977 million euros.

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Auction Central News International contributed to this report.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


An untitled 1981 Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) acrylic, oilstick and spray paint on wood artwork sold for $16.3 million (est. $8 million to $12 million) at Phillips de Pury's May 10, 2012 Contemporary Art auction. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Phillips de Pury & Co.

An untitled 1981 Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) acrylic, oilstick and spray paint on wood artwork sold for $16.3 million (est. $8 million to $12 million) at Phillips de Pury’s May 10, 2012 Contemporary Art auction. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Phillips de Pury & Co.