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Artprice’s annual art market report 2011. Art sales at their best.

Paris, February 27 , 2012

Artprice’s annual art market report 2011. Art sales at their best.
While old economies are struggling, growth is accelerating in the BRICS countries. The five BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa- have been enjoying much stronger economic expansion than the developed countries and China’s growth in particular has profoundly modified the geographical structure of the global art market according to thierry Ehrmann, the founder and CEO of Artprice, the world leader in art market information. Moreover, in Singapore, Beijing and Hong Kong, politicians are aware of the enormous economic potential of art for their state or their city, and their governments strongly support major cultural events including Contemporary Art fairs. In addition to the 49% growth in auction revenue from artworks in China, a number of other Asian countries have also posted particularly dynamic growth, such as Singapore (+22%) and Indonesia (+39%).

This growth has been driven by the emergence of new and very wealthy collectors and a growing number of art investment funds. As a result, the Asian art market has become the most high-end area of the entire globe. For example, 12.1% of works sold in Asia sell for between $100,000 and $1m, versus 2.2% for the rest of the world. China, Asia’s leading economic power and world leader for sales of artworks, has surprised everyone not just by its acquisitive capacity but also by its independence. It accounts for the highest auction results (with 774 auction results above $1 million recorded in 2011 compared with 426 in the USA and 377 in the UK), mostly generated at auctions in Beijing and Hong Kong. Even if China were deprived of the strong Hong Kong sales of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, it would easily remain the first global marketplace!

In 2011, the global art auction market generated 21% more than in 2010 and there is not a single segment of the art market that did not progress in terms of turnover. Compared with 2010, Modern art added $1.2B, Post-war art added $372m, Contemporary art added $291m, Old Masters added $124 million and 19th century art posted an increase of $43 million. In addition, bulimic buying has not left any medium on the side-lines. 2011 saw the sale of more paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings and even prints than 2010. Indeed, driven by the rocketing prices of the Chinese Old and Modern masters, drawing has really come into its own, with its annual revenue up by $1.318 billion over the year.

This year, Artprice’s annual art market report – based on 6.3 million auction results from 4,500 auction houses around the world and distributed to over 6,300 media organisations and international institutions every year in 6 languages – will focus particularly on China’s successful conquest of the global art market. Our 2011 Art Market Trends contain macro- and micro-economic analyses providing the keys to understanding the annual evolution of the global auction market. It discusses the major trends in the market, analysed throughout the year on the ArtMarketInsight page of our website, by the Artprice press agency and by our Econometrics Department. To complement this objective appreciation of the art market based on a year of global auction results, Artprice also offers numerous original rankings such as the Top 500 artists by auction revenue and the Top 100 auction results of the year.

Download the complete PDF format document (Free download)

  • Edito
  • A high-end market unaffected by the crisis
  • New record year
  • The powers at work
  • Modern art: the core of the market in 2011
  • The best of the Old Masters
    Contemporary art
  • Structural mutation: the art market in the Internet age
  • Top 10 Artists
  • 11 figures for 2011
  • Powerful art market columnists comment the year
  • 2011 from the AMCI’s viewpoint
  • 2011 in 140 characters – the year as seen by @artpricedotcom
  • Top 100 auction results in 2011
  • Top 500 artists by auction revenue in 2011

Source: (c)1987-2012 thierry Ehrmann

Artprice is the global leader in databank on Artprices and indices with more than 27 million indices and auction results covering 450,000 artists. Artprice Images® offers unlimited access to the largest
Art Market resource in the world, a library of 108 million images or engravings of
artworks from 1700 to the present day along with comments by Artprice’s art historians. Artprice permanently enriches its databanks with information
from 4,500 international auction houses and auctioneers and publishes a constant flow of art market trends for the
main news agencies and 6,300 international written media. For its 1.3 million members (member log in), Artprice posts standardized adverts in what is today the world’s leading Standardised Marketplace® for buying and selling
works of art by private contract or at auctions -regulated by French law alinéas 2 et 3 de l’article L 321.3 du code du commerce- (source Artprice).

Discover the Alchemy and the universe of Artprice, which headquarters are the famous Museum of Contemporary Art, the Abode of Chaos

Artprice is listed on Eurolist B by Euronext Paris (SRD long only): Euroclear: 7478 – Bloomberg: PRC – Reuters:

Artprice releases:

Follow all of the art market’s news with Artprice on Twitter:

Artprice Launches its Online Auctions

Artprice Launches its Online Auctions

PARIS, January 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ —

As announced in previous press releases, Artprice, with its 1.3 million members in more than 90 countries, and in its capacity as an online auction broker (« opérateur de courtage aux enchères réalisées à distance par voie électronique », Article 5 of French Law no. 2011-850 of 20 July 2011) will be launching its online auctions service on 18 January 2012.

Since 27 December 2011, Artprice members have been able to prepare their ads in order to gain the maximum benefit from the visibility of Artprice’s global launch campaign. For further information please visit:

Although more than 90% of the art market was closed between Christmas and the New Year, Artprice has already registered several thousand lots for sale. Our initial client feedback suggests that users find the service very quick and simple to use.

According to Thierry Ehrmann, the founder and CEO of Artprice, « The train of History is now definitively rolling and Artprice is on that train, which nothing can stop from now on. It took twelve years and lots of patience and conviction to pursue a legal battle against a 500 year-old monopoly that is today demolished. » Breaking this monopoly is a victory for Artprice; but it is also beneficial to France, which has been losing its attractiveness as an art market for over 40 years, slipping from the first to the fourth position, and which, this year, with the help of Artprice, can hope to recover a position worthy of its tradition and its influence on the art market.

On Monday 2 January 2012, Artprice launched a global campaign in art and financial media, focused on the USA, Europe and Asia, alongside a « viral marketing » campaign on the Internet.

On Monday 9 January 2012, Artprice will start the presentation of lots to be auctioned in chronological harmony with the art market which, every year, kicks off in the second week of January.

A level of security rarely attained on the Internet.

Our alliance with, the global leader in the management of escrow accounts, provides a 100% guarantee of security and payment for the parties to all transactions. The service provided by has been specifically tailored to meet all of Artprice’s rigorous requirements. Artprice’s capacity to offer 100% transaction security relies on its excellent knowledge of the digital economy and developments in the fields of information technology and Internet law. Indeed, we can affirm with complete confidence that the security of Artprice’s online auctions and other services is greater than that offered by traditional auctions and non-internet transactions.

Artprice works on the fundamental principle of perfectly identified members and, via an agreement with INTERPOL, buyers can access at any moment the latter’s international Stolen Works of Art database to check if a work being offered for sale is subject to any legal dispute or search warrant.

Unlike certain well-known general online auction companies, Artprice imposes a permanent legal presence on its clientele to ensure the smooth operation of its online auction brokerage activities via its Standardised Marketplace. Artprice’s contacts over the past 5 years with approximately 70 criminal investigation departments around the world has allowed Artprice to build an unrivalled level of Internet confidence that is strengthened by its constant collaboration with artists, beneficiaries and experts.

The real strength of Artprice is its use of an escrow and payment release system for which Artprice has conceptualised all possible legal scenarios to ensure that completed transactions are legally irreversible and to provide a level of security rarely attained in the Internet sphere. This escrow system functions on exactly the same principle as that used by solicitors and lawyers for various kinds of transactions.

The very low commissions charged by Artprice completely alter the dynamic of the art market.

Art professionals, collectors and beneficiaries will be inexorably drawn to use Artprice’s service because its low commissions modify the fundamental reality of the secondary art market. Its rates decrease from 9% to 5% depending on the value (in USD) of the transaction: 9% from 0 to 7,500 dollars; 7% from 7,500.01 to 15,000 dollars and 5% for transactions over 15,000.01 dollars. According to Thierry Ehrmann, the 5% rate for works offered at over 15,000.01 euros could attract entire sections of the Art market to this modus operandi because works in that price bracket are perfectly standardised and have been bought and sold for nearly 30 years, almost always « remotely », in view of the legal documents that vendors are obliged to produce on Artprice.

In parallel, Artprice is setting up white labels for major players in the art market, notably Auction Houses, that will use Artprice and its Standardised Marketplace as their technical host for online auctions, thereby providing Artprice – which is not an auctioneer – with another source of income.

Artprice is therefore open to demand from over 3,600 client and partner auctioneers and more than 7,400 art valuers who have already concretely manifested their vital need to join Artprice’s standardised marketplace in order to maintain their positions in the global art market and survive the necessary transition to a dematerialised art auction environment.

Internet, and more generally the digital revolution, has literally destroyed the global mono-economy of physical auction rooms, which today are just one channel for auctioneers to use and which -usually located in city centres- either represent an expensive (and now superfluous) rental cost or an under-exploited real estate asset.

In the context of a deeper than ever global economic and financial crisis, Artprice has once again -as in 2008- observed a very sharp increase in the number of works offered for sale through its Standardised Marketplace, with an acceleration of buy-to-sell operations. We can therefore assume that auction sales will follow the same growth path. Indeed, we are of the view that the economic and financial crisis represents a strong growth opportunity for Artprice’s Standardised Marketplace.

In fact, the history of the art market – like all markets – is naturally heading towards the circuits that are the fastest, the least expensive, the most liquid, where the price can be obtained in real-time and where there is a critical mass of participants with – of course – access to transparent information on all prices and indices.

Artprice’s Standardised Marketplace meets these five specific and vital needs for a modern market. Artprice, with its completely toll-free access model for its Standardised Marketplace, is absorbing the global market of private art sales faster than initially expected. With our extremely attractive rates we now expect to see the same pace of growth with our online auction service.

Over nearly 7 years Artprice has seen exponential growth of the offer on its Standardised Marketplace (the annual figures are available in Artprice’s 2010 Registration Document and online at the AMF under number D.11-0784 since 25 August 2011). In 2010, Artprice confirmed a total volume of artworks offered worth nearly 6.3 billion euros with a sales rate of approximately one third, for which Artprice received no commission.

We should point out that only Artprice holds and protects, as intellectual property, the entire process for joining the Standardised Marketplace® and for side-stepping the traditional system of physical auction rooms. Indeed, the situation may justifiably be compared to the old Stock Exchanges before the arrival of the ECNs (Electronic Communication Network) that made the outcry halls redundant on the majority of the world’s major stock markets, primarily by reducing the intermediation costs.

Art… a veritable safe haven investment in times of major crisis.

The economic and business media (Le Monde, The New York Times, the F.T. the A.F.P., Reuters, Bloomberg, etc.) regularly indicate that quality art represents a genuine safe haven in major crises. Artprice, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and the major international auctioneers also confirm the safe haven status of artworks (c.f. the Agefi’s interview with Artprice). In fact, despite the sombre economic and financial global context in 2011, the global art market posted extremely positive figures both in terms of volumes and prices in all countries, and numerous artists in Artprice’s global Top 500 posted new records.

This confidence is manifest on all continents. Like gold, artworks have for centuries been defensive investments in major crises and particularly in the context of sharp meltdowns in financial asset values such as those that the global economy is likely to continue experiencing in 2012/2013.

Artprice will soon be announcing alliances that will allow a presence on all continents with local partners.

The future of Artprice in 2012 and of the Art Market is unavoidably linked to Asia.

Artprice was the first press agent in the world to announce and certify figures in 2011 showing that China had unquestionably become the world’s leading art marketplace ahead of the USA in 2011. Artprice’s figures for 2011 have already confirmed China’s domination of the global art market for the second consecutive year.

There is therefore an irresistible logic to Artprice’s patient preparation for the opening of its subsidiary and clean rooms in Hong Kong that will be a testing ground for the People’s Republic of China and an entry point for Asia. Hong Kong is already one of the top five global art marketplaces. Likewise, agreements with major players such as online auction operators and major Asian art fairs will allow Artprice to extend the diffusion initiated in 2011 of its Asia-specific art market reports, country by country. As a simple example, Singapore should soon overtake France in the field of Contemporary Art sales. In this context Artprice and Art Stage Singapore, Asia’s largest Contemporary Art Fair (along with Art HK), have decided to intensify their editorial partnership and their marketing strategy in 2012. Artprice will also be a strategic partner with Art HK (Hong Kong).

The Internet’s absolute domination of the art market in 2012.

In 2012 Internet is therefore just a simple extension of the 1980s telephonic order with, in addition, a perfect reproduction of the work for the buyer and Artprice’s remarkable success is proof of this…. there remained therefore a final step and indeed the hardest step: the standardisation of the marketplace that Artprice has achieved in 14 years by imposing its unique and free standard via its Standardised Marketplace®.

From 1987 to 2004, Artprice’s databanks became the reference in this area and made Artprice the global leader in standardised art market information before it turned to the problem of market dematerialisation. This latter project fully exploits the standardisation represented by its 18 databases, fed by acquisitions around the world of publishers and art archives.

All of the industrial processes forming Artprice’s databanks are patent protected, notably by the A.P.P. (Agence de Protection des Programmes). These industrial processes standardise the Art Market (artist ID, work ID, catalogue raisonné ID, bibliography ID, estimate/econometric info ID.) with more than 180 million data entries and proprietary indices.

This globally unique knowledge is clearly explained in Artprice’s corporate video in five languages:

Artprice posted the best French stock market progression in 2011 and has filed a request for admission to compartment B of Euronext Paris.

Despite the crisis affecting stock market’s, Artprice’s share price outperformed in 2011 with an astonishing increase of +472% since 1 January 2011, on the back of a traded volume of approximately 873 million euros, i.e. an average daily volume of 3.2 million euros. This increase was the best performance on the regulated French Eurolist by Euronext markets (compartments A, B, C).

As Artprice satisfied all the admission criteria for admission to Compartment B in 2011, it is preparing its admission request for registration on compartment B of Eurolist to be filed with the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF) along with the presentation of its candidacy to the NYSE Euronext Scientific Committee for Indices to be included in the indices relating to Compartment B.

In order to understand the legislative evolution of the art market over five centuries and the impact of recent changes on Artprice, we invite our shareholders and the market to read the 72 short and pedagogical questions and answers that form the basis of the interviews conducted in June and October of 2011. Hyperlinks to Actusnews (a professional regulated information provider licensed by the AMF):

Lastly, Artprice invites its new and future shareholders who would like to acquaint themselves with the history of the Company to consult its highly detailed regulated information in its 2010 Registration Document filed and online at the AMF under D.11-0784 since 25 August 2011. Artprice, with more than 12 years of regulated disclosure on Eurolist, is proud of the high quality of the information it provides to financial market professionals and art market novices. All the questions of Artprice’s 18,000 shareholders are systematically answered in Artprice’s regulated disclosures that its posts online on its own website and on that of its AMF-authorised financial information provider,

Source: (c)1987-2012 Thierry Ehrmann

Artprice is the global leader in databank on Art prices and indices with more than 27 million indices and auction results covering 450,000 Artists. Artprice Images(R) gives unlimited access to the largest Art Market resource in the world, a library of 108 million images or engravings of artworks from 1700 to the present day along with comments by Artprice’s art historians. Artprice permanently enriches its databanks with information from 3,600 auctioneers and publishes a constant flow of art market trends for the main news agencies and 6,300 international written media. For its 1.3 million members (member log in), Artprice posts standardized adverts in what is today the world’s leading Standardised Marketplace® for buying and selling works of Art (source Artprice).

Artprice is listed on Eurolist by Euronext Paris: Euroclear: 7478 – Bloomberg : PRC – Reuters: ARTF

List of Artprice press releases:

Discover alchemy and Artprice’s universe on

Follow all of the art market’s news with Artprice on Twitter:

Contact: Josette Mey – tel: +33(0)478-220-000, email: