Singapore, a dull El Dorado?

The Singaporean art market is going through tough times. But despite difficulties, experts express optimism and see a market grounded on healthy foundations that should enable it to ride through this period of disturbance by strengthening its connectivity. There are some signs that don’t lie. Just look at the closure of several museums in the country including the Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris and the departure of a few galleries, matched with lower museum visits and morose sales figures — that namely triggered the cancellation of the Singapore Art Fair and the Milan Image Art & Design Fair Singapore despite the great success of their inaugural editions. While the market’s global economic value has increased in the last decade, going up from $340.3 million to $528.7 million in 2013, the last two years have seen a correction of the market. The Singaporean art market is relatively young at around fifty years old. Bala Starr, director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, makes the following observation: “The art scene here needs to be connected to the world. Commerce occurs in the context of the wider scene. The biggest advantage for Singapore is to form a positive and consistent reputation as a backer of the arts in Asia. That Singapore is a young market is a benefit to us because it gives us the opportunity to convert people into art...

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Chinese art market stays in China

The slowdown of the Chinese economy, paired with the corruption scandal involving President Xi Jinping, has had an impact on demand. China is now ranked third on the global market, overtaken by the United Kingdom. The global art market has been upset in various regions, namely Europe, where terrorist threat has weighed heavily. Despite the prudence of buyers, Chinese art seems to be resisting this global situation. Recently, bronze statues from the Ming Dynasty went for €6.3 million (estimated price between €400,000 and 600,000) at Briscardieu auction house (Bordeaux), notching up the best sale in the family business’ history. This is no isolated case as Chinese works, including those in the smallest auction houses, are highly prized by Chinese buyers. In 2011 in Toulouse, a scroll painting from the Qianlong period sold for €22.1 million while a vase from the same period sold for $83 million at Ruislip in London. The same observation was made by TEFAF where ancient Chinese decorative art was one of the only sectors to keep its end up in 2015. During Asia Week New York that gathered 45 galleries and 5 auction houses, organisers announced a result of $130 million, far behind the previous edition that reaped $360 million (a result boosted by Christies’ exceptional sale of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth’s collection). This subdued situation reveals the strengths and weaknesses of this market. According to James Lally, a New York dealer, “mainland Chinese are in a more cautious and selective mood now. Yet China is creating new collectors every day, and when a mainland Chinese begins collecting, he always collects Chinese art.” As far as contemporary Chinese art goes, Sotheby’s made satisfying sales during Art Basel Hong Kong, namely scoring a record for Zhang Daqian’s Peach Blossom Tree (1982) selling for $34.7 million. As pointed...

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Galleries moving from fairs to digital marketing, according to Skate’s

Skate’s have suggested that the growth of art fairs is slowing and that galleries are shifting their focus to online sales, according to a Market Note published on their website. According to their data, out of the 12 most important art fairs from around the world in the first quarter of 2015, one reported a decrease in visitor numbers, and more generally, it was the first quarter in 10 years of data in which gallery and visitor number failed to grow at a two-digit pace. Out of these top 12 fairs, four had a reduction in the number of galleries participating. Skate’s suggested that galleries are instead looking to online and digital marketing to gain visibility, with the cost of visiting and participating fairs being increasingly expensive. The full Skate’s Art Fairs Report is to be released on 20 April...

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Report: The Art Market in 2014 by Artprice and AMMA

Artprice and AMMA (Art Market Monitor of Artron) have published their 13th annual art market report, entitled The Art Market in 2014. The report, published in six languages through more than 7,200 international institutions and media outlets, provides a comprehensive summary and in-depth analysis of the year in the global art market. The report begins with a broad overview of the year, before presenting the characteristic of the Western and Eastern art markets, illustrating the segmentation of the art market by period and medium, examining important and emerging capitals in the international art market, and finally analysing key issues in the global art market in 2014. Throughout the report, all given prices refer to hammer prices before fees, all references to dollar refer to the U.S. dollar, and all sales of artworks refer only to Fine Art sales, excluding antiques and other cultural goods. Overview of the market in 2014 2014 was a record year in terms of auction sales, with turnover of $15.2 billion, an increase of 26% on 2013’s total of $12.05 billion. This record high represents a 300% increase from a decade ago. The high auction turnover is largely due to the Chinese market and economy, in addition to strong results for the ultra-high end Western art market. The report cites factors such as the geographical expansion of the market, the growth of the major auction houses’ distribution networks, low interest rates, strong media interest in the art market, in addition to high confidence in the market, the result of improved transparency, as reasons for the high prices. The growth of a “museum industry” was also cited as a positive force in the art market, with an ever-increasing number of new museums springing up over the world, particularly in the Greater Asia region, where an average of one new...

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1960s works gaining more market share

Art Market Monitor have published data analysis by Artnet demonstrating the rise of 1960s works in the art market. The data shows that the percentage of Artnet’s top 1000 artworks that were created in the 1960s has risen from just under 9% in 2000 to over 16% in 2014, despite a dip in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The data looks in more detail at works produced by Andy Warhol in the 60s, and found that despite too dropping after the financial crisis, the total sales figure generated by these works quickly recovered, surpassing its 2007 peak in 2012, from which it has only shot higher. The average price of works from the 1960s in Artnet’s top 1000 has also risen over the past 15 years, dipping slightly after the financial crisis, and again in 2011/2012, but in 2014 easily quadrupling their average price from the year 2000, reaching a 2014 average of just under $8...

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