Artprice half-year report: the art market returns to strong growth in the West

Artprice half-year report: the art market returns to strong growth in the West

[09 Aug 2022]

Global Fine Art auction revenue increased by 8.8% in the first half of 2022, despite a new wave of Covid-19 in China. Artprice is recording a record number of auction transactions worldwide and is seeing growing enthusiasm for works by artists from the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries, whose prices are highly volatile.

Thierry Ehrmann, President and Founder of“An in-depth study of public auction results reveals growing competition between New York, London and Hong Kong. This competition is rapidly inflating the prices of works by young artists to levels usually reserved for the old masters. On the occasion of Frieze London and the Paris+ fairs (the latter piloted by Art Basel), Artprice will publish an exclusive dossier dedicated to ‘Ultra Contemporary Art: a term that designates a dynamic that develops around artists under 40, such as Matthew Wong, Avery Singer and Refik Anadol.


  • Global fine art auction proceeds reached $7.49 billion.

  • The 5th most prosperous half of the art market on record.

  • An increase of 8.8% compared to H1 2021.

  • A record 326,000 lots sold in H1 2022 compared to 313,400 in H1 2021

  • The Global Artprice Index is down 13.8%

  • Christie’s hammered the 2nd best art auction result of all time at $195 million.

  • The unsold rate rose to 31% from 27% in H1 2021.

  • With a turnover of 3.27 billion dollars, New York was clearly the world’s leading marketplace.

  • In second and third place, London hammered $1.43 billion and Hong Kong took $610 million.

  • Not far behind, the Parisian art market generates 518 million dollars and attracts a growing number of international institutions.

  • Christie’s and Sotheby’s account for 38% of worldwide fine arts turnover.

  • The Macklowe collection became the most expensive collection ever sold in the world, generating $922 million.

  • 180 NFTs sold at auction generating $8.5 million.


As the health crisis fades around the world, Fine Art auctions are setting up for an unsold rate of 31%, nearly one in three works offered for sale. This level corresponds to a stable average over the last twenty years, oscillating between 36% in 2009 and 27% in 2021. Indeed, this key market indicator has reacted quite differently compared to the way it reacted during the last major crisis that affected world art. market, the financial crisis of 2009. At the time, collectors decided to take less financial risk, while the health crisis of 2021 pushed buyers to switch to a new, entirely dematerialized sales channel.

In the first half of 2021, the market found a new balance thanks to the coexistence of two different and complementary sales channels (one physical, the other digital), which allowed auction transactions to continue at a steady pace reaching a historic number of 326,000 Fine Arts lots in six months. In the first half of 2022, this volume increased further to an unprecedented intensity, despite the postponement of many auctions in China (whose turnover volume is down 53%) due to an additional wave of Covid-19.

The United States (+42% compared to H1 2021) and the United Kingdom (+26%) are driving growth. The two powerful Anglo-Saxon markets alone accounted for exactly two-thirds of worldwide Fine Art auction turnover. China, meanwhile, accounted for just 12% of global art auction turnover, a result it owes in large part to Hong Kong, which accounted for 70% of the value of the art. entire Chinese art market (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan). ).

France continued to grow (+14%) consolidating its 4th place ahead of Germany (-5%) after a sensational performance in 2021. In addition to the presence of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, several Parisian auction operators achieved performances exceptional: Artcurial (+42%) and Aguttes (+154%), among others. Meanwhile, The French capital is attracting more and more major international players like David Zwirner, while the Gagosian and Continua galleries have opened new spaces in France. Paris is delighted with the upcoming arrival of Hauser & Wirth as well as the opening of a Phillips auction room. Bonhams acquired the French house Cornette de Saint-Cyr (operating in Paris and Brussels). Finally, the Art Basel company will now be the official organizer of the international autumn art fair organized at the Grand Palais in Paris, entitled Paris+, which will replace the FIAC.

Japan and Switzerland also had an excellent start to 2022 with increases of 74% and 145% in their respective auctions. Without directly competing with Hong Kong (which still weighs seven times more), Tokyo is positioning itself on the Asian continent as a hub for major contemporary artists, including Andy Warhol, Yoshitomo Nara, Yayoi Kusama, but also young talents like Mr. Doodle and Ayako. Rokkaku (born in 1982), whose auction sales have already exceeded $18.6 million this year. For its part, Switzerland continues to carve out a place for itself in the post-Impressionist and modern art market, with sales of important works by Ferdinand Hodler, Alberto Giacometti and Marc Chagall.


Propelled to center stage in March 2021 with an initial public auction result of $69.4 million, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have revolutionized the art market, with a new type of work, new collectors and a new currency.

Of the 277 NFTs auctioned in the first half of 2022, 65% sold for an average price of $47,000. This situation is very different from H2 2021 where 225 NFTs were offered for sale, of which 86% sold at an average price of $520,000. BEEPLE (1981)it is A human (2021) reached nearly $29 million last November at Christie’s, while the best NFT result in the first half of 2022 was just $1.38 million for Living architecture: Casa Batlló (2022) by Refik ANADOL (1985).

The 104 CryptoPunks announced by Sotheby’s in February 2022 were finally withdrawn on the eve of their planned sale. The withdrawal of such a lot, estimated between 20 and 30 million dollars, underlines the extent to which players in the NFT market remain somewhat skeptical about the service provided by traditional intermediaries. Not only are they expensive (transaction costs average 20% compared to around 2% to 3% via NFT platforms) but they are also governed by a much less flexible schedule. The major auction houses nevertheless continue their efforts to participate in this emerging market, even if they very rarely sell the major NFT collections (BAYC, WoW, etc.). For now, such projects no longer seem to need the marketing efforts or legitimacy of regulated auction houses.

At the same time, the volatility of crypto-currencies, starting with that of Ether (which has seen its value halve since the start of the year), has exacerbated the mistrust of traditional collectors vis-à-vis of this disruptive market. Fortunately, this lull will be an opportunity for many artists, dealers, collectors and institutions – starting with museums – to take an interest in digital works and consider acquiring NFTs without the pressure record sales and hype.

The NFT phenomenon obviously stems from the same enthusiasm that Artprice observes for the work of young artists, some of whom obtain record results of several million dollars even before their work has been exhibited in a major museum or even before they have enjoyed a solo show in a gallery. Recent auction records for works by artists under 40 (whose very recent works are already trading on the secondary market) will be analyzed by the next Artprice UltraReport on contemporary art to be published in October 2022. This will be an opportunity to highlight the growing success and influence of young women painters.

Top 10 Living Artist Personal Records Under 40 at Auction in H1 2022(©

1. Avery Singer (1987): $5,253,000

2. Christina Quarles (1985): $4,527,000

3. Jennifer Packer (1984): $2,349,000

4. Maria Berrio (1982): $1,562,500

5. Robbie Barrat (1999): $841,317

6. Robert Nava (1985): $639,401

7. Bois d’Issy (1993): $588,042

8. Lauren Quin (1992): $588,042

9. Louis Fratino (1993): $365,400

10. Jordy Kerwick (1982): $277,200

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