The Art Business

A Closer Look at the Global Art Market & Beyond

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life — Pablo Picasso

This past week, a 1982 painting of a ‘skull’ by an American Artist Jean Michel Basquiat (who died very young at age 27) sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby ’s-an auction house.

Art is Deeply Personal

1. Art gives me life. Every morning, as the rays of the sun glint on Gustav Klimt’s “ The Kiss” hanging on my wall, it provides me inspiration to create my own masterpiece even if it is a silly poem.

Basquiat’s art focused on “suggestive dichotomies”, such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. He appropriated poetry, drawing, and painting, and married text and image, abstraction, figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.

No Surprise then that one of my blog is titled ‘The Responsibile Capitalist’

Overview of the Global Art Market

The global art market is anywhere between $45 billion (as per the latest TEFAF art market report) to $56 billion as per a report commissioned by UBS and Art Basel:

(TEFAF: The European Fine Art Fair Report, 2017)

Demand: Who is Buying?

As per the UBS report, there is a wide spectrum of buyers from private collectors to international museums:

Supply: Who is Selling & Where?

Art is sold through auction houses, online sources, art dealers or through exhibition at galleries. Below is the distribution of sales by geography:

What is happening to Prices?

The MEI Moses Art Indices

The MEI Moses indices, acquired by Sotheby’s comprise a constantly updated database of 45,000 repeat sales of objects in eight collecting categories, approximately 4,000 of which change hands each year

“Widely recognized as the preeminent measure of the state of the art market, the indices use repeat sales — the sale of the same object at different points in time — to track changes in value”

A Look at Global Auction Houses

This info graphic from statista captures the top 10 auction houses by revenue in 2016:

Tips for Wealth Managers

As an alternative asset class, art has outperformed bonds, real estate but not gold or equities:

Indian Art

While China’s position as the driving force in the global art market is indisputable, art in India has shown tremendous growth. The beginnings of an art uptick were laid by Tyeb Mehta in 2002. His painting which sold for $1.25 million at Christies put in motion an unpredictability art boom that put Indian artists firmly on the international map.

A Historical Perspective

While art has an history as old as the Stone Age, the 20th century history consists of:

Beyond Business

Everybody lives and dies. Some transcend time by leaving a legacy and live on forever.

“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin — find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.”

Personally, I would say create your own piece of art even if it is a cute mistake of an animal drawing. I assure you the reward — a smile on your child’s face is worth much more than the Basquiat that sold for $110.5 million dollars.

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Writer @ The Intersection of Finance, Tech & Humanity. Stories of a Global Language: “Money”. Contributor @ Startup Grind, HackerNoon, HBR. Twitter@akothari_mba