US & European Auction Analysis – London October 2012

No. Pages6
ResearchersAnders Petterson, Nathan Engelbrecht
Report TypeAuction Analysis

Auction results in London disguise an increasingly narrow market place.

Despite the vast amount of art works on offer during last week’s Frieze Art Fair, the three Post-war and Contemporary Evening sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury reached the highest level for London October sales since October 2007, which traditionally is a much smaller sales season than February and June. However, despite the good overall result, it disguises a rather one-sided market, where only a handful of artists continue to account for a disproportional share of the overall market.

One of these artists are Gerhard Richter. His ’Abstraktes Bild’ (1994) set a new living artist record of £19 million (excluding premium), which accounted for a 27% share of the overall total and 50% of Sotheby’s Evening sale. Without this lot, the picture would have looked rather different.

With Christie’s having been the leading auction house since November 2011, Sotheby’s re-addressed the balance last week, as Christie’s fell 11% short of their low pre-sale estimate, and only managed to reach half of Sotheby’s total. The total tally for this season’s evening sale came in at £68,527,000, which was 20% higher than last year’s London October sale. The average auction price for the three sales was £585,701, 12% higher than October 2011.