Between June 2020 and June 2021, 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”, according to the annual report by Artprice released at the beginning of October 2021.
The initial collapse caused by the pandemic in the first half of 2020 saw gallery sales drop by 36% however auctioneers quickly adopted a more online approach leading to an incredible bump that initiated the shift in the kinds of works buyers are purchasing.
“Photography and prints have been particularly successful in this new online environment and in 2021, we have seen the sensational arrival of completely dematerialised artworks, the famous NFTs,” said Artprice CEO Thierry Ehrmann in a foreword to the report.
NFTs, or “non-fungible tokens”, allow people to buy the rights to online art, including images, animation or even tweets, accounted for one-third of online sales, or two percent of the overall art market.
Back In March 2021 the digital artist known as Beeple sold one of his NFT works “Everydays” for $69 Million through a Christie’s Auction and they later reported that 22 million people logged into the sale, 60 percent of them under the age of 40, to witness the first public sale of an NFT.
However, Artprice said NFT’s are not the only reason the market has been doing so well. The Asian market quickly established itself in contemporary art sales, taking 40% of sales at auction this year compared to only 32% in the United States and 16% in Britain.
The highest-selling contemporary artist remains Jean-Michel Basquiat, who passed in 1988 but still generated $93.1 million in sales over the past year.
Beeple comes in second thanks to his landmark NFT sale.
But the third place goes to 68-year-old Chinese artist Chen Danqing, with a $25.2 million sale in Beijing for his oil painting “Shepherds” in June, a record for Chinese art.
At Frederick Charles, a rise in recognition for Artists such as Alan Davie, Patrick Procktor, Simeon Stafford and Trevor Bell for their acrylic, oil and mixed media works gave buyers an increased sense of expression, whilst encouraging Art Enthusiasts worldwide to explore our collection of Original British Modern Arts, from the post-war period.