April 23, 2015

Global art sales hit an all time high in 2014 - with art work worth $ 15.2 billion changing hands in art auctions around the world. Take a moment to appreciate that figure - $ 15.2 billion!

This figure exceeds the previous year’s number by over 25%, and is more than 4 times the figures that were achieved a decade ago. The number of art pieces that recorded a sale price of $ 1 million or more also increased four-fold over the decade - to 1,679.

The more valuable pieces - that sold for $ 10 million or more - grew at a still higher rate compared to 10 years back - from 18 to 125. That is a 7-fold increase.


A Sotheby's Art Auction

Artprice, a data firm that released these figures, attributed this healthy growth to an unprecedented increase in number of museums that compete for these pieces. A firm official revealed that between 2000 and 2005 alone, more museums were opened than in the entire 200 years preceding that! And a credible museum will need anything between 3,000 to 4,000 artworks of high quality.

China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) claimed the market leader status with $ 5.6 billion, followed by USA at $ 4.8 billion. UK secured the third spot with $ 2.8 billion.

Black Fire by Barnett Newman

The most expensive artwork sold in 2014 was Black Fire for $ 84 million. This piece is a 1961 abstract expressionist work by Barnett Newman.

Also in 2014, a single Christie auction in May netted a total of $ 745 million.

The 1892 Gauguin Painting titled Nafea Faa Ipoipo

Which way the things are headed in 2015? By early February this year, Nafea Faa Ipoipo (roughly translated as “When Will You Marry?”), a post-impressionist work by Gauguin depicting two Tahitian women, has secured a price tag of $ 300 million. This will make it the the most expensive single piece of art - ever.

Artprice points out that there are enough buyers and few enough art pieces that we will soon see the $ 1 billion tag achieved.

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