A total of $10.2 billion was spent on fine art, design, and decorative art at auction in the first six months of 2018—a 14 percent boost from 2017. Need proof that the art market continues to be concentrated at the very top? The sum value of art sold at auction rebounded this year after a dip in 2016 and 2017, approaching its 2014 high. At the same time, however, the number of lots sold—also known as auction volume—has dropped by more than 25 percent since 2014. Why is auction revenue on the rise but the total number of works sold going down? Because the average lot has gotten considerably more expensive. In 2013, the average price of a work sold at auction was almost $42,000; in the first half of 2018, it exceeded $60,000. That rise is largely due to growth at the top end of the market.
The inaugural artnet Intelligence Report embodies the belief that data — compiled here in close and creative partnership with the indispensable artnet Price Database team — don’t have to be dry and bloodless, but rather can be lively, illuminating, and even (to some casts of mind) entertaining.