To put it quite bluntly, 2021 was a gruelling year for everyone across all walks of life. Despite the vaccine rollout, we now enter the third year of the pandemic with a continuation of multiple lockdowns. However, despite all these challenges, the Art Industry saw some major wins. Here are a few key stats to highlight the Art Markets' success in 2021.
Following the complete halt of auctions in 2020, the contemporary Art Market made a significant recovery seeing a record turnover in 2021. Over the summer, contemporary art prices saw an increase of 400%, making it the most profitable segment of the entire Art Market. Art price reports that about 2.7 billion USD worth of contemporary artworks transferred ownership at auctions over the year whilst a total of 102,000 contemporary artworks were sold. This sales figure indicates a 1000% increase from the last 20 years.
Price Indices from January ‘98: Contemporary Art vs. the ArtPrice Global Index
2020 vs. 2021
In comparison to 2020 where galleries and auction houses were closed as a result of the pandemic, this increase could be due to the fact that businesses in 2021 ultimately prepared for the worst outcomes. To counter the closure of businesses as a result of the lockdowns, Galleries and Auction houses swiftly managed to organize online sales events which boosted capital.
Paintings not only remain the primary but most profitable medium in the market too. The medium is responsible for 73% of the total turnover within the contemporary market which amounts to a total of 2 billion USD. However, a fourth medium made a significant breakthrough in the market. As a result of our ever-digitalizing society, Non-Fungible Tokens, also known as NFTs, made a significant impact in the Art Market. Art price reports that the contemporary sales price for NFTs made a combined total of 127.6 million USD in 2021. NFT artworks represent 2% of the 2021 global Art Market and a third of the value of online sales.
Finally, we can look forward to an overall diversification of the global Art Market. 2021 saw Hong Kong effectively establish itself as the second Contemporary Art capital of the world, with New York still holding the number one position of course. This new Asian market became the primary exchange ground for western artists as well as Asian artists as Hong Kong recognized western prodigies in 2021, a first. What this means is that western artists now have access to the contemporary Asian Art market. Not to mention the Asian market has the lowest unsold rate in the world at only 10% meaning that New York now has a competitor.
2020/2021 Contemporary Art Auction turnover source
Revival of the Black Renaissance
In regard to the overall diversification of the global Art Market, we are currently in the midst of a revival of the 1920s Black Renaissance. In 2021, 10 African born artists saw a total combined auction turnover of about 30 million USD. What this ultimately means is that the landscape of the current Art Market is changing and opening up to ‘minority’ Artists outside of the Art canon, meaning non-western Artists.
As we approach our third year in the global pandemic, we all feel a little less ease than before about these shared circumstances, as harsh as they are. Now that we know to some degree what exactly is in store for us, we know how to prepare and persevere through these circumstances and the successes of 2021 are proof of that. These successes show that we can look forward to an extraordinary evolution in the Art Market as a result of NFTs and the new global Art capital. So, here's to a new year and many more successes.
If you want to know, even more, check our more detailed guide on how to buy art for yourself and for your office. We are always here to help you to find the right artwork, you can book an appointment with us, and remember, enjoy yourself while in the process!
CHECK OUT OUR BEST BLOGS