Art Market Confidence At Seven-Year High

According to art market analysts at ArtTactic, confidence in the art market has just hit its highest point since January 2014. The stats come from a survey conducted every six months involving 113 art market professionals and was last carried out in mid-July. The current confidence level is ranked at 80.6 out of 100, a dramatic rise from 44.6 recorded in November 2020 and just 6 in May 2020.

The current confidence ranking is up 89% on the last pre-pandemic figure recorded in September 2019, indicating strong appetite for a return to normality after the disruption of the last 18 months or so. Overall the ArtTactic report presents a balanced view of the past year, noting that the pandemic“also been a catalyst for transformational change in the art market, creating more resilient and innovative business models across the sector”. This is certainly true for online art sales which have surged since the early days of the pandemic, doubling from $6 billion in 2019 to $12.4 billion in 2020.

Auction results across the board have buoyed confidence thanks to strong performances over the first half of this year. Basquiat has proved particularly popular, with key sales including The Case which sold for $93.1 million in May at Christie’s in New York and an untitled triptych which sold for $37.2 million during a live-streamed sale held by Sotheby’s Hong Kong in June. The work was acquired by its previous owner for just $1 million at Christie’s in London in 2005, indicating the remarkable surge in interest in Basquiat over the past decade.

Art insiders also point to the record-breaking sale of Banksy’s Game Changer in March 2021 for £16.7 million at Christie’s in London as evidence that the market is back on form. The artwork claimed the title of the most expensive Banksy original ever sold at auction. The previous record-holder was Devolved Parliament which fetched $12 million at auction in 2019. Banksy gifted Game Changer to University Hospital Southampton, and was sold by the hospital with the artist’s blessing to raise funds to support the wellbeing of staff and other healthcare providers.

Confidence in gallery sales is also on the rise,“with the prospect of a packed physical art fair calendar this autumn”. Although uncertainties remain over the COVID-19 restrictions likely to be in place at the end of the year, fairs are planned to go ahead in New York, Basel, London and Paris over an action-packed six week period.