Caroline's review of the art market

The art market today

  • The latest evaluation of the art market’s size and its evolution were released last week (October/2013). They are showing a 15% increase of the contemporary art market at an international level.

  • Contemporary art has become more attractive than before, but modern art still represents almost 40% of the market. The emerging markets and new museums in China and others are demanding contemporary art.

  • Also art has become an important tool for investments. Since the various financial crises of the last 10 years, banks are investing in art as a refuge. So they’re a demand-side pressure.


The three main market segments for works of art:

  1. On the bottom: reproductions

    1. can buy online, low-risk

    2. no real investment upside

    3. an easy way to get works you love on your walls

  2. middle of the market: good original works

    1. lesser or modestly known artists

    2. real value, reasonable prices,

    3. potential for investment upside, but it’s always a risk

    4. the satisfaction of owning an original work

  3. crazy top market for a very few collectors and investors

    1. can be hard to understand the rationale

    2. can be quite speculative and risky

    3. once a work is acquired by a celebrity investor, that’s instant promotion for the artist

    4. top collectors also often sit on museum boards, so what they’re buying tends to end up in museums, too
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