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The balance of power in the modern art market: the largest auction houses

If we talk about the current state of the world art market as a whole, then it is” ruled by the ball ” three countries-the hegemon-the United States, China, and the United Kingdom. Everything that happens in this market has changed a lot over the past ten years, not least because of globalization. The UPS and downs of the antique market are tied to economic crises. There have been two significant market declines in recent decades. The first significant drop in sales occurred in the period 1990-91, and was associated with the fall of the yen: the Japanese were always among the most active buyers in the art market.

The second drop was more significant and took place in the period 2008-09. the acute phase of the crisis in the United States. This period was characterized by an almost hysterical drop in prices in almost all segments of the art market. However, despite the continuing depressive mood of consumers, prices for works of art went up again in 2010. Note that sales of Russian art in this crisis did not even fall – in the upper price segment: Malevich and the Association”Jack of diamonds”.

However, there was a drop in sales in the middle price segment, which was observed in particular at the antique salon in 2014, when half of the space was empty.

In General, it can be noted that due to globalization, the importance of developing markets is growing, and this is indeed an established trend that will only strengthen over time. China took the first place in the world in terms of turnover of art objects in 2013. However, in the next year, 2014, China had to concede to the United States.

The third place in the turnover of works of art has been firmly held by the United Kingdom for many years. The phenomenon of the British market is its extreme concentration. So 50% of the works of old masters. sold in London. Every winter there is a week of sales of old masters ‘ paintings. The UK has a very long tradition of the antique market, it is a country of great collectors. It is the only country in the world that has such a large number of private collections-some of them date back to the 16th century (the collection of the Royal family). Since a certain point, the economic difficulties of the Royal family have led to the fact that these collections can be viewed for money. In English and Scottish castles, you can still see collections in the form in which they were created.

We can highlight another trend of the modern art market – the steady growth of the share of the Arab world in turnover. This share is constantly growing, but, apparently, it will not reach the level of China, due to the weak developed culture of private collecting. The main buyer from the Arab world is the state.

It is possible to distinguish the distribution of segments of demand for works of art by country. Active sales of old masters paintings are held in England or France. Modernism, modern art sells better at new York auctions. Currently, new York is the main center of sales of modern art (post-war and modern, Post-war & Contemporary,, impressionist Modern and Impressionist art). In total sales in new York, old masters occupy only 8% of the total number of lots, and a little less – the art of the XIX century. Once did not allocate separately auctions for art of the XIX century., now began to allocate due to the small number of sales.

In order for a modern artist to truly “take place” and become world-famous, it is necessary that his works be published first in new York, and then in Paris or London.

According to statistics, in 2014, 50% of lots of post-war and modern art were sold at auctions in new York. The cost of works by contemporary artists is growing rapidly. But for the time being, the prices of so-called modern art are still significantly behind the prices of the recognized classics of impressionism.

Auctions for the art of Orientalism are becoming increasingly popular. In particular, a large number of such auctions are held in the UK, where you can buy Chinese porcelain, Indian statuette and Japanese Satsuma.

As for the auction houses, there is a duopoly-two giants-Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The hegemony of these two competitors of the art market is not canceled.

There are auction houses and galleries. Auctions make up about half of the art market. In addition, a certain share of the market is occupied by private sales. Galleries do not publish information about such sales, so their market share is difficult to analyze. And antique houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s are constantly increasing their share of private sales – sales and auctions. Big money loves silence, and auction house clients are no exception. Through private sales, people find out the price of a painting, and there are always people who do not want to release their items on the market, it is easier for them to sell for a certain price. Usually these are very expensive paintings, neither buyers nor sellers want to find themselves. Talking about price is a very shaky matter. Indirectly, you can understand the dynamics of sales through the archive of sold lots-sold lots archive. Every year, new interesting private collections that were considered lost for decades appear on the market of old masters, such as a series of decorative panels by Boucher that were considered lost, or works by Russian artists.

All catalogs are available online when the auction is in progress. You can enlarge the image, view details, and request the state of preservation.

Following the growing influence of China, in the 1980s, both Sotheby’s and Christie’s antique houses began holding auctions in Asia-Hong Kong. Hong Kong is one of the potentially most important centers of art trade, especially in Asia.

The third auction house in terms of sales is POLY’S Chinese auction house, which sells mostly Chinese art. There is a lot of Chinese art in the world (since the 17th century). Despite the crisis in China, the role of auction houses in the art and Antiques market will continue to grow.

The share of other auction houses is small, but it is important for the work of the art market. First of all, we can distinguish the following sales centers: Austrian Dorotheum; Finnish Bukovsky’s; Bonhem’s-English auction house; Druot in Paris.

The share of sales of Russian art is very small. First, it is not very popular in the world. Secondly, Russian art has not been preserved much-in comparison with the art of Italy and France. It appeared on the market quite late, and many worthy works are in state museums. The antique market in the USSR was officially banned. However, the Russian segment remains a very interesting growing segment of the world art market, which has a tendency to develop, despite all the economic crises. Russian Russian avant-garde is traditionally the most popular, and paintings by Russian artists of the XVIII century.

Mac’dougal-specialize in Russian art. From zero in ten years, this auction house was created to a very good level. Many good consultants were involved in cooperation. This house has an excellent Internet site where a colorful detailed catalog for each auction is published. Russian Russian art from the 19th-20th century and contemporary Russian artists are sold in this house.

An interesting trend of the Moscow art market. In the last few years, small auctions have started to appear, which is explained by economic feasibility. Many auctions specialize only in sales of traditional contemporary art.

Shishkin gallery works in the hotel Ukraine. Initially, the Shishkin collection was formed from the work of various Soviet artists. This gallery has a branch in London, which is successfully working and largely thanks to the work of this gallery, there was a fashion for painting by Soviet artists.

SOVKOM house, originally associated with SOVKOM Bank. But people who sell works of art are not organizationally connected to it.

You can note the auction house Russian enamel, which sells not only enamel, but mainly decorative and applied art.

A certain popularity is enjoyed by the auction, which is organized by the “house of antique books in Nikitsky”. One of its main areas is antique books. There are a lot of such people who buy an antique book. Graphics and fine art are also sold.

In conclusion, we should note another trend that is observed in the market of modern art and Antiques-an active growth in the share of Internet sales. However, to participate in such auctions, you must have a very trained eye and the ability to take a significant risk. Not infrequently, the state of preservation declared on the auction site will not match the actual state.

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