Just like many other things on the planet, the world of art has changed drastically since the COVID-19 pandemic. And not just in the type of art that is being created. The way that art is bought and sold, displayed, and appreciated has also changed. Throughout the pandemic, where social distancing has been the order of the day, live events have been cancelled, and worldwide economies put under pressure, we have all had to evaluate what we are doing and how we are doing it.
Olyvia Kwok Decani, art investor and collector with over 15 years in the industry, has a passion and skill for identifying trends and has uncovered six lessons that have been recently learned by international gallerists around the world.
1 – China, USA, and UK Dominate the Global Art Market
“These huge market hubs have retained a share of over 80% of public auction sales. China took over the US to become the largest shareholder.”
It is believed that China’s rise to the top is due to strong domestic supply and increasing wealth – traits that have been previously enjoyed by the USA and the UK.
Chinese investors are increasingly seeing the benefits of investing in art as an asset that does not depreciate easily, hence the boost in the Chinese art market.
2 – Boom in Post-War, Contemporary, and Modern Art
“Last year the largest sector was post-war and contemporary. This coupled with Modern art accounted for most of the value of sales.”
As collectors look to buy art that connects with them in the modern age, especially in the period that we are currently experiencing, expressing complicated feelings and situations, this is perhaps why we are seeing such a boom in post-war, contemporary, and modern art. Collectors are perhaps buying art knowing that it will encapsulate a unique moment in the history of the world and are looking to take advantage of this.
We are also seeing a greater acceptance and appreciation for street art – something that has not happened before, making it more accepted by art collectors and investors.
3 – Dip in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art
“On the flip side, sales in impressionist and post-impressionist showed the biggest decline in value. Sales are reported as down by over 50%.”
The dip in interest in impressionist and post-impressionist art is likely due to the rise of interest in other genres. As collectors perceive the popularity of post-war, contemporary, and modern art, it is perhaps that they are looking increasingly towards these genres. It is also possible that the art community is looking more to art to escape reality and the ‘realness’ of impressionist and post-impressionist art is less favourable at the moment.
4 – Boost in Online Sales
“Online sales, including OVR’s (Online Viewing Rooms), have grown threefold in a single year.”
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to a more virtual world, it is unsurprising that there was a great rise in the share of online sales. This is probably not only due to the pandemic as technology is always evolving how things are done, but almost certainly the pandemic enhanced the use of online sales.
5 – Live Events are Still Important for Art Sales
“Unsurprisingly, over 60% of global art fairs were cancelled last year. With only 2% holding hybrid live events.”
2020 was a year where almost no live events were allowed to be held – 61% of those studied above were cancelled. However, 37% still felt that it was vital to their businesses and managed to put on their live events despite the difficulties of the pandemic – and a further 2% were able to put on a hybrid alternative event.
6 – Attendance of Live Events is Returning
“Around half of high-net-worth collectors have said they’d be willing to go to a live art fair in the first half of this year, with a majority reporting they’d be happy to attend a fair in the last few months of 2021.”
This shows a slow but sure return to live events in the art market by collectors, with an emphasis on going to more local events. This suggests that there will still be a requirement for online art events, perhaps with a hybrid model being the most effective.
Baku Museum of Modern Art – Wikimedia Creative Commons
Guest Author Bio
Laura Butler is a content writer based in London, England, covering topics from contemporary art, to the business of art and art investment.