The Art Market 2011

All the information is not yet complete but it is clear that 2011 has been the biggest grossing ever for sales of art at auction. That statement is coming from Artprice, a site that tracks auction houses results; just before Xmas it had already recorded a total of $ 10.7 bn for 2011 compared with 2010 $9.5 bn. A large part of that is due to China, which already in 2010 accounted for 33 percent of the global art market. Sofar in 2011 that share will increase to between 35 and 40 percent.
In 2011 China emerged as the world’s number one market. The mainland auction houses in China have demostrated a resiliant firepower during the year, while the Hong Kong sales were also remarkably strong for most of the year. Sotheby’s and Christie’s combines stood for $ 1.8 bn.
Auctions of contemporary art – the most robust part of the market – have been strong, sometimes sensational, throughout the year.
The figures confirm what observers predicted; that despite the growing financial volatility, the art market has led a charmed life in 2011. The bulk of the sales were made in the first half of the year, that historically is always the strongest season. That confirms that art is becoming a strong alternative investment in today’s environment.

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