The contemporary art market’s biggest stars are the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons and Christopher Wood with combined sales at auction of $436 million.
Not everyone may “get” contemporary art, but whoever is buying it is paying unprecedented sums.
Agence France-Presse reports that 2013 was a record breaking year for the contemporary art market, exceeding an unprecedented $2 billion. Paris-based Artprice, which keeps the world’s biggest contemporary art market database, finds in its annual report that in the year from July 2013, sales of contemporary art at public auctions reached $2.046 billion, up 40 percent over the previous year. Thirteen pieces alone fetched more than $12.9 million each, compared with four in the previous year, AFP notes.
The market’s biggest stars are the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons and Christopher Wood. They comprised sales at auction of $436 million.
Koons retains bragging rights for the most expensive work of art by a living artist ever sold at auction, “Balloon Dog,” which sold last November at Christie’s in New York for $58.4 million.
Following Koons are:
- Zeng Fanzhi (China)
- Peter Doig (Britain)
- Richard Prince (US)
- Martin Kippenberger (Germany)
- Luo Zhongli (China)
- Chen Yifei (China)
- Zhan Xiaogang (China)
Of the three best-selling contemporary artists, who are defined as artists born after 1945, Basquiat works fetched around 162 million euros, while Koons and Wool brought in 115 million euros and 61 million euros, respectively.
China, Artprice figures, has overtaken the U.S. in terms of overall market share, comprising 40 percent of the world market with sales worth $811 million compared to $752 million for the U.S.
Collectibles rank behind real estate and on par with previous metals as the most in-demand of alternative investments among ultra high net worth investors with a net worth between $5 million and $24.9 million, according to Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner research.
Of these 27 percent overall, 52 percent are under the age of 45. The highest percentage of high net worth collectors (27 percent) purchase art, followed by currency or coins (23 percent) and automobiles (10 percent). Sixteen percent cited “other.”
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.