Art market trends in the first half of 2019 and what to make of them

New data from the first half of 2019 compiled by Artsy reveals some interesting trends about demand for art online.

The data examined was from 45 art fairs featured on Artsy that opened between January 1st and June 30th. Over that time, 35,000 art works were uploaded to more than 2,3000 virtual fair booths by more than 1,800 galleries, the report states.

The report found that just over a third of the galleries that participated in the online fair presentations were based in the United States.

It found that artworks by Yayoi Kusama were by far the most in demand during the first six months of 2019, accounting for 1.29% of all inquiries made by collectors.

Aside from works by Kusama, the report found that the 30 most inquired-upon artists are male, followed by a relative newcomer to market stardom, KAWS.

Unsurprisingly, the Artsy report found that artists drafted into mega galleries like Gagosian experienced a significant uptick in inquiries, driving up demand and prices.

New artists to the Gagosian roster—Jennifer Guidi and Katharina Grosse—saw a spice in collector demand since signing to the powerhouse roster.

Jennifer Guidi

The data found that 33% of all artists with works uploaded to a fair in the first half of 2019 received one or more inquiries online:

Among the artists whose work received at least one inquiry, the top 20% (a total of 552 artists) accounted for just under two-thirds of all inquiries, or 66.3%. The other 80% of inquired-upon artists garnered just over a third of all inquiries (33.7%) on Artsy. That distribution represents a somewhat more even concentration of demand compared with the 80/20 power-law distribution expected in sectors like the art market.

Unsurprisingly, the data also revealed that collector interested typically went towards older, more established artists. Emerging artists received little over 11% of inquiries, while blue chip artists accounted for 29% of inquiries, and works by older, more established artists took the lion’s share of 60% of inquiries.

The report also found that while art fairs still account for a significant portion of galleries’ sales by value (46% last year, according to Artsy data), 44% was made via brick and mortar locations.

Finally, it’s worth noting that, despite all the rhetoric of the art world being more embracing towards change and social issues, both the blue-chip and established categories are overwhelmingly male-dominated. Apart from Kusama’s top place finish, the only other women within the top 30 most in-demand blue-chip artists are Tracey Emin (at 14th) and Jenny Holzer (at 26th). Among established artists, only one woman, Vivian Maier, ranked in the top 30.


This article is based on a report by Artsy

Also published on Medium.

Dorian Batychka
Dorian Batychka
is a journalist and curator. In addition to contributing to numerous publications such as Frieze, Hyperallergic, Canadian Art and Mousse, he has curated exhibitions and projects at the Venice Biennale and Bait Muzna in Oman.