Artprice’s Annual Report on the Global Art Market in 2017: A Genuine Alternative to Financial Markets, with China in First Place

PARIS, February 28, 2018/PRNewswire/ –Our 20th Global Art Market Annual Report is once again the fruit of an alliance between Artprice, world leader in Art Market information, founded and directed by thierry Ehrmann, and Artron, its powerful Chinese institutional partner, directed by Wan Jie. The result is the only truly global art market report providing reliable insight into both the Western and the Eastern art market.

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By pooling their resources to analyse the global Art Market in unprecedented detail, our two structures highlight the intense competition driving the market’s global growth as well as its logic and its consequences. No other organisation or team is currently capable of such high quality processing and interpreting of macro- and micro-economic metadata in a Big Data environment.

The 18- chapter Report contains Artprice’s now-famous Top-500 ranking of artists by annual auction turnover, the market’s Top 100 auction results, our brand new Artprice100® index -a must for trading rooms-, a selection of Artprice market indices, and numerous detailed analyses per country, market-hub, creative period and artistic medium.

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Posting very strong growth in 2017, the Art Market has entered a new era

Fine Art auction turnover reached $14.9 billion for the full-year 2017

Global turnover increased +20% versus the previous year

Measured growth in H1 (+9%) became strong growth in H2 (+32%)

Worldwide, 502,900 artworks were sold publicly in 2017 (+3%)

The overall unsold rate was 34% (vs. 36% in 2016)

Artprice’s global art price index ended the year stable versus 2016

The latest spectacular all-time Fine Art auction record at $450 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi represents the beginning of a new era for the Art Market in which the next big milestone will be the $1 billion threshold. In the meantime, we are bound to see results between $179 million and $450 million in 2018.

China remains the world’s top marketplace with $5.1 billion in turnover: 34.2% of global total

The United States ranks second with $4.9 billion

The world’s top 5 marketplaces all posted turnover growth:

China +7%, USA +42%, UK +18%, France +35%, Germany +12%

France (in 4th place) accounted for 5.3% of global turnover with $784 million, ahead of Germany’s $256 million, but still a long way behind the three leading marketplaces. France’s turnover was up +35%, but this growth was essentially generated by the Anglo-Saxon auction firms, Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

Christie’s is the world’s leading auction house with a total of $4.4 billion ahead of Sotheby’s with 3.4 billion

In China, Poly Auction ($1 billion) beat China Guardian ($815 million)


Artprice’s 2017 global Top 500 index contains 231 European artists, 162 Asians and 82 North Americans

The Top 10 includes 4 Chinese artists, 3 Europeans and 3 Americans

2017 saw new auction records for many high-profile figures in Art History

Financial performances

Repeat sales** generate an average annual return of between 5.5% and + 8.3%

In the longer run, works purchased from $200,000 to $1 million generate the best annual return: 8.3%

** The same work purchased and resold at auction during 2017

Artprice100© The Wolves of Wall Street at the gates of the Art Market

The Artprice100® shows a progression of +360% since 2000, with an average annual return of 8.9%

Revised annually, the new index replaced 4 artists in 2017

It contained one Chinese artist (Zhang Daqian) in 2000, vs 18 in 2017

The drivers of this growth are ease of access to Art Market information, electronic sales (98% of the market’s participants are connected to the Internet), the financialization of the market, a growing population of ever-younger art consumers (from 500,000 in the 1950’s to 90 million in 2017) and the extension of the market to all continents.

The growth of the museum industry is also playing a crucial role. With more than 700 new museums opening every year, the museum industry has become a global economic reality in the 21st Century. More museums opened between 2000 and 2014 than in the previous two centuries, and demand for museum-quality works is one of the key factors in the spectacular growth of the Art Market. The Art Market is now a mature and liquid market offering returns of 8% per year on works purchased over $200,000.

In 2017, the intense competition between China and the USA generated explosive growth in the West, but confirmed China’s role as the leading global marketplace for art despite US growth of +42%. China’s domination is established with just $0.2 billion over the US. Art clearly represents an essential element in the Soft Power arsenals of the United States and China, and, on a smaller scale, of Qatar and the UAE.

China’s supremacy is also once again visible in our ranking of the world’s top 500 artists by annual auction turnover. Chinese artists represent 32.4% of the total number compared to just 16.4% for American artists.

In a context where central banks are effectively implementing negative interest rates, the Art Market has enjoyed insolent health. The new Artprice100® index, that covers the Top 100 artists in all three major segments: Old Masters, Modern and Contemporary, from all over the world, shows a progression of +360% since 2000. However, this level of return is not restricted to works by star artists. Our analyses show that the average annual yield on artworks purchased above the $20,000 line is around 5.5%.

The Internet has now become the principal and definitive forum for auction operators worldwide who are using it to consolidate their market shares on all continents. Of the world’s 6,300 auction houses, 98% are today present on the Internet (versus just 3% in 2005).

The Art Market is an efficient, historical and global market whose ability to withstand economic and geopolitical crises is now beyond any doubt. Over the last 18 years it has outperformed most of the world’s principal financial markets by a considerable margin.

Copyright 1987-2018 thierry Ehrmann

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