Q1–Q2 Auction Performance in 2013

An in-depth look at first and second quarter performance in 2013.

Total sales volume of Fine Art in the United States is up 7 percent in the first half of 2013, even though overall global sales lagged behind last year’s performance. While global growth in the first quarter of 2013 was down 7% from the same period in 2012, strong sales in Q2 have helped the global art market slowly close the gap, with this year’s performance only trailing last year’s by 3% at the end of Q2.

With sales volume down in China (-14%) and the United Kingdom (-7%) in the first half of 2013, strong spring sales in the rest of the world were left to bolster the global art market, enabling it to top US$7 billion by the end of the second quarter. France, Germany, and Hong Kong all witnessed 5-7% growth in total volume sold so far in 2013, representing a combined market share of 10% of the global market.

Sales in the United States in Q1-Q2 of 2013 were responsible for almost one third of all art sold globally this year, gaining market shares as the Chinese market contracted. Supported in part by the unprecedented success of Post-War and Contemporary sales, the United States sold 11% more Fine Art by value and 9% more by volume this May than in 2012. At Christies New York, the Post-War and Contemporary sales fetched US$640 million in a single week, setting a new auction record for value sold at auction for any collecting category. The sale was led by the three most expensive works sold so far in 2013, each selling for over US$45 million and setting a new record for the respective artist: Jackson Pollock’s Number 19, selling for US$58.3 million; Roy Lichtenstein’s Woman with Flowered Hat, selling for US$56.1 million; and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Dustheads, selling for US$48.8 million.

Number 19 by Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock, Number 19, 1948, oil and enamel on paper laid on canvas, sold for US$58,363,750 at Christie’s New York

Woman with Flowered Hat by Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein, Woman with Flowered Hat, 1963, magna on canvas, sold for US$56,123,750 at Christie’s New York

Dustheads by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dustheads, 1982, acrylic, oilstick, spray enamel, and metallic paint on canvas, sold for US$48,843,750 at Christie’s New York

Strong May sales were followed by sluggish June sales, with total sales volume down 13% in China and 7% in the United Kingdom resulting in both countries dipping further below the 2012 levels.

The top 10 artists in the first half of 2013, by value sold at auction, include Pablo Picasso (Q1–Q2 2013 sales: US$226.1 M), Zhang Daqian (US$180.3 M), Jean-Michel Basquiat (US$169.2 M), Qi Baishi (US$138 M), Andy Warhol (US$137.1 M), Gerhard Richter (US$123.1 M), Claude Monet (US$112 M), Roy Lichtenstein (US$101.5 M), Amadeo Modigliani (US$91.3 M), and Jackson Pollock (US$79.6 M).

For more information about the methodology of artnet Indices, please see the artnet Analytics White Paper.

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