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Photography Market – 1st Half 2017

  • Analyst: Aleksandra Rutkowska
  • Pages: 8
  • Access: Analyst

Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips raised $19,297,765  in photography auction sales in New York and London in the first 6 months of 2017. The result represents an increase of 21.9% from the second half of 2016 and was the highest total since the first half of 2015.

The recent photography auctions provide further evidence of a broad global art market recovery, also in the lower price segments of the art market. Despite a deterioration in photography market confidence in January 2017, the majority of experts are positive-to-neutral about the market in the coming 12 months.

Phillips maintained the largest market share for the third time in a row. With an auction sales total of $9,309,779, they accounted for 48.2% of the total sales value, furthering their lead by 6.4%. This result also signals a significant increase in season-on-season sales by Phillips (up by 40.6% from six months ago).

Christie’s came in second with 31.8% in market share (down 2.2% from second half of 2016). Sotheby’s was left with a 19.9% of the market (down from 24.1% 6 months ago). Sotheby’s struggled with a high average bought-in rate of 42.2%, against Phillips’ bought-in rate of 19.8% and Christie’s 27.6% 

The Auction Indicators for all the three houses improved signficantly from the last season, which could signal that demand is picking up as pre-sale estimates are falling inline with buyers’ expectations.   

Modern photography raised $8,018,546 in the first half of 2017, with a market share of 41.6%. This segment was particularly present at Christie’s, where it represented 51.1% of the sales.

The strong performance of the Modern photography sector was reflected in the Top 10 prices, where modern lots contributed six of the top 10 lots.

Report Content
  • Photography Sales 2009-2017
  • Average Prices (Vintage, Modern and Contemporary)
  • Auction House Market Share
  • Photography Market Confidence & Outlook
  • Auction House Comparative Performance (Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips)

Photography auction market up 21.9% in the first 6 months of 2017, signalling a broader global art market recovery, also for the lower price segments.