The art market last year confirmed a strong recovery from the pandemic, with a return to live sales with steady growth in online business. Aggregate sales of art and antiques by dealers and auction houses reached an estimated $65.1 billion in 2021, up 29 percent from the year before and just above the of $64.4 billion of pre-pandemic 2019.
The numbers come from the Art Market Report, widely acknowledged as the best summary available for the sale of artworks through intermediaries (like galleries, auction houses, online platforms). Clare McAndrew has been running this increasingly accurate statistical survey for some years; her consultancy, Arts Economics, currently produces it for Art Basel and UBS – loading it with the ungainly title The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report.
Art Basel obviously has vested interests in the state of the market and clearly can leverage its contacts to add quality to the figures. The UBS connection is also useful, enabling as it does a survey of high net worth collectors through UBS Investor Watch.
As well as the overall $65bn total, we’ve picked out some of the key findings from the recently published report.
The Art Market Report is available for free download here.