ArtTactic Finds ‘V-Shaped’ Recovery in Market Confidence

Insight Online News

By Abby Schultz

The future of the contemporary art market looked bleak in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic as live auctions, art fairs, and gallery shows were canceled and the relationship-driven business suddenly moved online. 

In May, ArtTactic, a London art advisory firm, reported its “confidence indicator” had nearly bottomed out at a reading of 6.4, on a scale of 100, representing an 85% plummet in confidence from the previous fall. 

This week, ArtTactic reported a “v-shaped” recovery in the indicator—which it has reported every six months since 2005—with a reading of 44.7. Although the below-50 result means more of the 127 art “insiders” the group interviewed are negative on the market’s outlook, it is a striking turnaround from the spring. 

The result shows “the initial fear of a complete meltdown of the art market has been unfounded and bodes well for a further recovery from the initial damage caused by the pandemic,” ArtTactic wrote. https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The art market insiders ArtTactic surveyed include international collectors, auction specialists, dealers, advisors, market analysts, and commentators, two-thirds of which have participated in the survey since it was initially launched.  

The market’s resilience, ArtTactic wrote, took the experts surveyed by surprise. 

Most were highly pessimistic about the market’s prospects six months ago, but today, 61% expect the market for established artists will be stable for the next six months, and 24% believe it will recover.

“No experts surveyed believe the market will fall further in the next 12 months compared to 41% who said so in May,” the report said. 

That the pandemic has shifted how art is bought and sold is evident in the 255% rise in online-only auction sales between January and August, to nearly US$597 million from US$168 million in the same period last year. Of the experts surveyed, 24% expect auction sales overall will rise in the next six months, while 39% expect rising sales to continue for a year.

The ability of the major auction houses to pivot quickly to digital sales, and eventually to hybrid models involving live-streams from their global locations, buffered the initial steep losses the houses experienced in the first part of the year, ArtTactic said. Still, year-end results will likely be significantly down from 2019 levels, the report said.  

In 2019, global auction sales from Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips were US$9.74 billion, down 19.8% from a year earlier. 

Galleries and art fairs that mostly sell works in the primary market also quickly, and largely successfully, transitioned to digital programming and sales in 2020, allowing confidence in the primary market to rise from a level of 3 on ArtTactic’s indicator last May to 39 in November. Of experts the firm surveyed, 36% are optimistic about the next six months (compared to only 2% who were in May) and 29% are neutral.

ArtTactic also looked at confidence in the market for a younger generation of rising contemporary artists, and found that they have fared surprisingly well this year, with auction sales of these artists rising 21% from January through August. Of those surveyed, 59% expect this sector will continue to grow in the next six months and 54% expect the growth to continue for a year. 

“The combination of lower price points, [an] influx of new buyers, and a desire to support younger talents during the crisis could be factors that have contributed to this,” the report said. 

The young artists expected to do well over the next six months are led by Julie Mehretu, Rashid Johnson, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Jonas Wood. Looking out 10 years, the experts are most positive about the staying power of Crosby, Yiadom-Boakye, Mehretu, Dana Schutz, and Wade Guyton.

The established artists garnering the most positive short-term outlook are Yoshitomo Nara, Cecily Brown, George Condo, Mark Bradford, and Gerhard Richter. In 10 years, the artists those surveyed expect will remain important are Cindy Sherman, Richter, Andreas Gursky, Maurizio Cattelan, and Sigmar Polke.

SOURCE : PENTA

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