For the first time since early 2019, collectors chased after high-end art with a voraciousness not seen since a few years before the pandemic, which lead to the world’s chief auction houses to sell more than $2.3 billion worth of art during a two-week sale series in New York.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s sold every item they had to offer as collectors splurged on everything from classic paintings of windswept fields by Vincent Van Gogh to spray-painted images by street artists such as Banksy to a rare edition of the U.S. Constitution.

As mentioned on in an earlier article, the contemporary art market rebounded to an all-time high of $2.7 billion, boosted by online sales and the arrival of digital art in the form of “NFTs”, and while NFT artists populated high-profile live-streamed sales, the latest sale series also marked the mainstream arrival of cryptocurrency on the auction scene.

A group of cryptocurrency investors organized as “ ConstitutionDAO “ narrowly lost a bid to win the $43.2 million Constitution after crowdfunding $40 million-plus over a 72-hour span. Chicago hedge-fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin still outbid them all.

With the recent cryptocurrency boom in the art market with even traditional art auction houses like Christie’s buying into the market with the recent sale of fully digital artwork, there is much to be said about the waves caused in the ‘crypto art world’ in the past few months. Has Christie’s nod of validation towards the emerging crypto art market offering non-fungible tokens provided the much-needed boost in the art world?

To illustrate how quickly the art market overall has made up for any pandemic-related lags, consider this:

Last year, Christie’s auctioned off nine artworks for at least $25 million. The house crossed that mark 14 times in the past two weeks. Phillips’s $138 million sale on Wednesday was a record high for the company. Sotheby’s $676 million sale of the collection of real-estate mogul Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife, Linda Macklowe, also represented a record in the 277-year-old company’s history. The priciest work overall was a Macklowe piece, Mark Rothko’s $82.4 million Creamsicle-colored abstract, “No. 7, 1951,” which was won by an anonymous collector in Asia. Arne Glimcher, a dealer at Pace Gallery, said he sold that Rothko to the Macklowes in 1987 for far less.

Records fell like dominoes throughout the series for dozens of artists including Frida Kahlo, the late Mexican painter whose 1949 self-portrait sold Tuesday for $34.9 million at Sotheby’s. The sale shattered her previous $8 million record, as well as her husband Diego Rivera’s $9.7 million high bar set three years ago. Kahlo is now the priciest Latin American artist.

The artist known as Beeple who launched the global craze for nonfungible art tokens was able to watch Christie’s auction off his first real-life sculpture, “HUMAN ONE.” It sold for $29 million, over its $15 million estimate. Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, even decided to bid on another NFT work by artist Urs Fischer later in the same sale, ultimately bowing out with a laugh. “I just got super excited,” he said afterward.

It is safe to say, the art market is bigger and stronger than it has been for a long time and now is the right time to participate.

Frederick Charles Art is here to support your journey into Art investment, by providing a transparent and time-efficient service that will keep you updated with market changes, trends and valuations, in addition to helping you identify opportunities in today’s market.

If you would like more information on the Art Market, Investment opportunities and more, contact the team at Frederick Charles.


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