A Return To Normality: Reviewing The Art Market In 2021

2021 has represented a return to normality for the art market, with pent-up demand
from the COVID-19 pandemic and growing interest in NFTs from wealthy cryptocurrency investors driving record sales. One telling measure of this buoyant mood is performance at the fall art auctions in New York where sales in excess of $2.6 billion set a new all-time record. In total some 32 works sold for more than $20 million at the Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips auctions.


Equally insightful are the auction sale figures for H1 2021 shown in Fig.1 below. Total sales for H1 2021 were up 230% on H1 2020 and exceeded those of H1 2019, demonstrating the rapid recovery of the art market and surging demand following the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contemporary art has continued to perform well with sales up 50% in H1 2021 compared with H1 2019 according to Artprice’s Contemporary Art Market Report. Growth was particularly strong in the United States ($592 million in H1 2021), Hong Kong ($435 million) and Germany ($21.7 million).


Looking ahead to 2022, Bank of America’s Art Market Update: Fall 2021 is just one of many industry reports sounding an optimistic note for the year to come: “2021 has married the unprecedented change of 2020 with a robust financial market, low interest rates and a return to the art market infrastructure, giving us, we believe, an art market poised for growth.”

Click below to access our exclusive Annual Art Market Report 2021 and discover what to expect in 2022 and beyond in the art world.