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Data Tools

Photography Sales Value by Auction House 2015 - 2020PNG CSV
Photography Sales Value by Sales Channel 2015 - 2020PNG CSV
Photography Top 10 Artists 2020PNG CSV
Female Photographers Sales Value 2015 - 2020PNG CSV

Photography Auction Market 2020

  • Analyst: Lindsay Dewar
  • Pages: 38
  • Access: Analyst

Overall photography sales down 30% in 2020, but the low-end of the market sees boost in sales: 

Total photography sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips came in at $42.7 million in 2020, down 30.1% from $61.0 million in 2019. The sales total was the lowest recorded reading since 2015, and 55.2% below the peak registered in 2017. However, despite declining sales, the number of lots offered was up 12.3% from 2019, with both dedicated photography sales and Incubator sales seeing an increase in lots sold – signaling a shift in buyer behaviour towards the lower price range of the photography market. The lower end of the photography market (less than $5,000) saw a significant boost in sales, up 74.3% from 2019, breaking through $1 million in sales for the first time since 2015.

About this report:

This report presents an in-depth comparative analysis of the photography auction market at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips between 2015 and 2020.

What is new in this report?

The third edition of our redesigned photography market report, provides analysis of photography sold in Post-War & Contemporary evening, day, and Incubator sales in addition to dedicated photography sales. This year we’ve also included the Hong Kong photography market in addition to New York, London, and Paris.

NEW FEATURE – FOCUS: Female Photographers: This new section includes Comparable Performance, Top Artists Analysis and Photography Sales Channel Analysis for female photographers.

Who is it for?

This report is popular among dealers, auction houses and collectors, who want to get an in-depth understanding of auction trends in the photography market and follow the performance of the three top auction houses last year.

ArtTactic also offer bespoke reports on the Photography market. For further information please contact us on

Special offer:

For Click & Buy purchases of this report, you will also receive a free copy of Revisiting: Shirin Neshat (£95 value).

Analytical tools:
Comparable Performance: Photography sales performance comparison between Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips in New York, London and Paris including: Total sales, Lots sold, Average Prices and Auction Indicators.
Top Artists Analysis: Section looking at the top 20 artists sold across all sales channels.
Top Prices: Ranking by the highest prices achieved and by top price-to-estimate performance.
Photography Sales Channel Analysis: Photography sold at auction across all three sales channels with breakdown, analysis for and top prices.