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Artprice Contemporary Art Market report analyzes key events and trends
Each year in the month of October, world’s top art research agency Artprice produces a comprehensive overview of the Contempo¬rary art market across the globe based on key trends and events like the auction results. The elaborate study throws light on both macro and micro analysis to give us an insight into the evolution of the contemporary art world for its better understanding. The researchers dissect the significant market developments throughout the year.

The latest document spread over 140 pages is published in 5 languages. According to Artprice CEO and founder Thierry Ehrmann, despite the current economic crisis the international market for contemporary art has achieved its third best performance ever just behind the peak of the bubble 2007-08 (€ 976.9 m) thanks to the thriving museum industry that has facilitated awareness and spread of art in the backdrop of looming recession.

The latest one year period has been equally impressive with bulimic rush leading to over 41,000 contem¬porary artworks being acquired across the world – almost four times more than the figure at the beginning of the new millen¬nium! They have fetched over € 915 m in total auction turnover (excluding fees) – nearly ten times more than the yearly turnover figures less than a decade before1, clearly underlining its potential as a bankable and liquid asset class art. What are the other pertinent observations and indications that the must-read research report about Contemporary art market makes? We summarize it for our readers:

•The contemporary art segment is now big business for auction operators; at the end of 2011, young artists (born after 1945) became a more profitable segment than Old Masters, generating 11 percent of total global auction revenue compared with less than 4 percent just ten years earlier. With nearly € 860 m in total global auction revenue from Contemporary art over the latest 12-month period.

•After 7 years of rising prices, the market contracted sharply in 2008-09, including on the highly speculative Contemporary segment. This year, it though, demonstrated good resistance in a context of rapidly shrin¬king financial markets around the world. While the sold rate was a little over 60 percent of the submit¬ted works last year versus nearly 70 percent at the very peak of the market, this figure reflects higher-than-usual buyer selectivity, a perfectly understandable and healthy reaction in a market characterized by solid price stability.

•The Asian market, especially China, has emerged among the most upscale ones in the world, ahead of America and notches ahead of Europe. The performances in the Eastern planis¬phere once again belittled the American and European results. Asia accounted for roughly 43 percent of Contemporary art auction revenue versus just below 30 percent and 26 percent for Europe and America, respectively. China accounts for 90 percent of the Asian market and generated € 109 million more from contemporary art than America from almost the same number of works sold (Both countries each accounted for about 15 percent of total global transactions).

•The performance of the Chinese market is bolstered by the ‘Chinese Dream’ that primarily relies on hugely successful businessmen, leaders of major groups and other investors who have flocked to the asset to diversify their investments. Partly driven by speculation and specialized invest¬ment funds sans much control, there is an influx of capital to the art market. For now, the power of auc¬tion houses in China is derived from their privileged positions owing to government support and monopoly situations. While the local Hong Kong market is highly dynamic, its power is mainly being fuelled by the vitality of the city’s growing non-auction Contemporary art sector.

•With Asian collectors having access to greater financial resources than European collectors, Asia is effectively the world’s most opulent market with 662 Contempo¬rary artworks sold above the € 100,000 line (including 37 above the € 1 million line) between July 2011 and June 2012, versus 382 in America and 324 in Europe. The Asian market’s top end is therefore twice as powerful as Europe, though it alone accounts for half of the world’s Contemporary artworks sold at auction. The UK now represents 22.5 percent of the global contemporary art market, and 76 percent of the European market.

•Urban art continues to invade the streets, walls, pavements and furniture of cities around the world from New York to Paris via London, São Paulo, Melbourne, Berlin, Bangkok and Kabul. The vast and complex genea¬logy of this trend is intertwined with the history of 20th century art, set against a bewildering backdrop of major socio-political and technological upheavals.

•Although the contemporary art world seems to be evolving glo¬bally, there remains a huge difference between the different local markets, reflecting each individual county’s cultural and economic parameters and the levels of local collector enthu¬siasm or speculative investment. Also, the dematerialization effected by Internet of our old world and of its eco¬nomy is creating a digital empire on the cusp of the 21st century in the form of an enormous and chaotic ‘glocal’ (global and local) village. Meanwhile, India’s auction scene continues to do well. More than a month ago, Tyeb Mehta’s oil painting ‘Falling figure with Bird’ went for Rs 9.63 crore (US 1.8 million) at the Saffronart Autumn auction, emphasizing the strength of Indian art market, and highlighting its impressive growth trajectory.