Jul 24, 2017

Art Market Changes - Especially at Christie's London

A recent NY Times article Live Auctions End at Christie’s South Ken. Will Online Sales Fill the Void? , though not directly related to Asian art sales, is indicative of the changes to the art market in recent years. As one of the people interviewed for the article stated: 
“More and more people want funky postwar design, pictures and decorative objects — and maybe one signature antique,” said William Rouse, managing director of Chiswick Auctions, a suburban London salesroom that is aiming to capitalize on Christie’s departure from South Kensington, one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. “They don’t want big lumps of brown furniture.”

The article also notes the growth in the sales at auction of luxury goods (such as handbags, watches, jewels), describing these as "luxurification” of the 21st-century market," and although sales in these categories were down, sales of old masters, 19th-century pictures and Russian art fared much worse in the past year.

However, Asian art, Impressionist and modern art, and postwar and contemporary art did the best at Christie's in the first half of this year. Overall, online-only auctions have increased in recent years, but Christie's is not necessarily the leader in these; as the article states, "in the first half of 2017, at a time of overall growth in auction sales, Christie’s held 35 online-only auctions compared with 118 digital sales the previous year."