Skate’s Annual Art Investment Report for 2013 – Part 1

January 29, 2014
Welcome to Part 1 of Skate’s Annual Art Investment Report for 2013!

2013 will be remembered and cherished by global art market observers as a year that repeatedly proved that there are no boundaries when it comes to the value of art. Auctions continued to test the market and push bidders, with higher estimates resulting in even higher sales prices. The past year became a turning point for many artists’ markets with new records being set. This was particularly the case with contemporary art. The performance of living artists, which this year was in line with the performance of the most prominent artists of all time, causes us to question once again the criteria that push artists into the market’s premium echelon.

In this edition of Skate’s annual report, we address the art market’s top segment through Skate’s proprietary rating, Skate’s Top 5000, which contains the 5,000 most valuable artworks sold at public auctions worldwide since 1985. In analyzing results from premium auction sales, we focus on the most significant trends in the commercial world of art and address a number of key art market topics in the current report, including:

  • The global state of the premium art market
  • Art trading results for 2013
  • The most notable achievements by individual artists at auction

Another unique tool used by Skate’s involves the tracking of repeat sales. By identifying artworks that have appeared at auction more than once, it is possible to measure their financial performance. Among other things, this allows us to determine:

  • The most liquid artists
  • The best and worst investment performers on the art market

 Click here to download Part 1 >>


Annual Report Cover-Part 1

Living Artists: A Week of Records Sees Strong Performance by Jeff Koons, Christopher Wool, and Gerhard Richter

November 15, 2013

This past week in New York has seen the three leading auction houses sell more than USD 1.1 billion worth of contemporary art. This week’s sales were particularly successful for a group of living artists who have proven their ability to compete on value with prominent artists tested by decades and even centuries of history.

Christie’s sale in New York on November 13 brought a total of USD 691.6 million—the highest result for a single sale in the history of the art market and nearly double the USD 380.6 million worth of art sold at Sotheby’s. Highlighting the sale was a group of new price records by living artists. While not competing with the duopoly of auction houses in terms of total value, Phillips managed to achieve USD 68 million in sales and also saw records for a number of living artists.

The three leading living artists this week were Jeff Koons, Christopher Wool and Gerhard Richter, with their works selling for eight-digit prices well above their pre-auction high estimates. Below are the Top 10 most valuable works by living artists sold during this past week…

To download and read the full text with data, please click here.

Insights on Investment Results of Impressionist and Modern Art Sales in New York

November 7, 2013

New York’s extravaganza of November auctions has presented the first batch of sales results highlighting collectors’ current appetite for blue chip Impressionist and Modern works. In total, Christie’s and Sotheby’s sold 52 artworks priced above USD 2.2 million, the threshold for entry into Skate’s Top 5000. The overall value of these lots was USD 440.4 million.

The recent turbulence in Sotheby’s management has not affected sales results, with the auction house performing better than its competitor in terms of overall value. Sotheby’s sold 25 works above USD 2.2 million, and the overall value of these works totaled USD 251 million. Christie’s, which was the first to hold sales in the Impressionist and Modern Art segment two days prior, saw weaker performance this time. Even though the number of artworks sold above USD 2.2 million was bigger, the 27 works saw lower prices on average with overall sales totaling USD 189 million.

Sotheby’s presented the market with two price records. The highest price was achieved by the bronze Grande tête mince (Grande tête de Diego) by Alberto Giacometti, which just exceeded is high estimate of USD 50 million. Diego en chemise ecossaise by Giacometti was sold at Christie’s for USD 32.6 million, becoming the third best result of the sales taking place this week. Pablo Picasso’s works saw better outcomes at Sotheby’s, occupying the second and fourth place by value with Tête de femme selling for USD 40 million and Mousquetaire à la pipe selling for USD 30.1 million. Picasso Claude et Paloma generated significant bidding at Christie’s, selling for a final price of USD 28.2 million, more than doubling its pre-auction high estimate and placing it in fifth place in the rating of the most valuable works from this week’s sales…

To download and read the full text with data, please click here.

Skate’s Semiannual Report 2013

September 1, 2013

The global art market is currently in the midst of its traditional summer break, which provides an opportune time to focus on the results of auction sales from the first half of 2013. Despite a number of record-breaking sales, both anticipated and unexpected, the art market is clearly experiencing stagnation at the top level with its weakest performance over the last three years.

Several key changes in the investment performance of premium-segment artworks also became evident during the first half of 2013. The auction houses managed to find exceptional works to put up for sale, and many of these sales saw stellar prices and corresponding media headlines. Three records were set by Christie’s during the Post-War & Contemporary Evening Sale in May, when Number 19 by Jackson Pollock sold for USD 58.4 million, Woman with Flowered Hat by Roy Lichtenstein for USD 56.1 million and Dustheads by Jean-Michel Basquiat for USD 48.8 million. Together with these three breakthroughs, auctions in general during the first six months of 2013 produced 61 sales at price points above USD 10 million and 328 sales above USD 2.5 million. However, new entrants contributed only USD 2.4 billion to Skate’s Top 5000, which is USD 10 million less than the amount contributed by the 343 artworks sold in the first half of 2012 at prices or above the rating’s threshold. Unless the upcoming fall and winter season proves to be unexpectedly strong, the art market’s performance for the full year 2013 is bound to confirm a slowdown…

In this issue:

  • Leading Artists in 1H 2013 – Volume, Value and Investment Return
  • Investment Performance of Blue-Chip Artists
  • Dynamics of Skate’s Top 5000
  • Female Artists in Skate’s Top 5000
  • Lack of Liquidity in 1H 2013
  • Artworks Leaving Skate’s Top 5000

To download and read the full issue, please click here.

Insights into the Premium Market for Zao Wou-Ki’s Artworks

April 23, 2013

On April 9, the art world lost one of the most prominent artists of a generation. Zao Wou‐Ki, an abstract painter with mixed French and Chinese heritage, passed away at 93. During his life Zao Wou‐Ki had the opportunity to observe the incredible performance of his artworks on the international auction market. He was the 5th most valuable living artist worldwide and the 56th most valuable artist in general, according to Skate’s Top 5000.

The premium market for Zao Wou‐Ki was formed in 2006 when auctions saw his works fetch prices above USD 2 million. Ever since, these works, which have appeared on the market irregularly, have often caused substantial interest on the part of international buyers with sales doubling or even tripling pre­‐auction estimates.

The total value of Zao Wou‐Ki’s 36 artworks in Skate’s Top 5000 is USD 132.4 million. 2011 was the strongest year in the history of his market with the total value of artworks entering Skate’s rating reaching USD 36 million.

Artworks by Zao Wou‐Ki have been sold at four key auction houses, including Poly International Auction, Ravenel, Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The latter accounts for 53% of the value of Zao Wou­‐Ki’s premium works sold.

Click here to download the full Market Note with data >>

Skate’s Art Investment Review – February 2013

February 22, 2013

This issue of Skate’s Art Investment Review focuses on the most important auction results in February and provides a detailed comparison of performance this year versus 2012. This issue also contains Skate’s insights into the latest performance of art funds.

In this Issue:

  • February 2013 Contributes USD 0.5 billion in Premium Quality Art, a 10% Gain Over 2012
  • Impressionist and Modern Art Holds 65% of Value in the Premium Market Segment
  • Premium Segment of Contemporary Art Market Grows by 27% and Sees More Frequent Change of Hands
  • Art Sales in February 2013 Confirm Investment Potential at the Top Level Previewwith ERR of 4.21%
  • Insights into Latest Art Funds Performance

Click here to download the February issue >>

Skate’s Annual Art Investment Report – Part 1

January 3, 2013

Welcome to Skate’s Annual Art Investment Report for 2012! This year, our report will be published in three parts. Part 1 focuses on Skate’s Top 5000 ranking of the world’s most valuable works of art by public auction price. We examine the changes that took place in this premium segment by addressing market performance in comparison with 2011, specifically with regard to artist rankings, sales volume and value, repeat sales (i.e., investment performance), and general changes in the structure the ranking.

Part 2, which will be published in early January, addresses the global art industry. Analysis is focused on companies in the art industry (e.g., auction houses, dealerships, e-commerce platforms, and media businesses), art investment funds, art financial services, and publicly traded art industry companies (i.e., the companies comprising Skate’s Art Stocks Index). It also covers many of the challenges faced by art industry companies.

Part 3, which will be published in the middle of January, covers Skate’s predictions for 2013, including those related to the premium segment of the art market (Skate’s Top 5000) and the global art industry.

Click here to download Part 1

Annual Report

Monthly Art Investment Ideas – December 2012

December 3, 2012

This issue of Skate’s Art Investment Review focuses on the most important November results as well as on a major upcoming December Sotheby’s auction devoted to Old Masters.

In this Issue:

  • November 2012 Auction Results: Higher Value Art with Lower Investment Returns
  • Vedutisti – Art Historical Value Does Not Guarantee Investment Potential
  • Celebrity Portraits by Andy Warhol: Men, Women and Himself
  • Top 3 Art Investment Ideas for December 2012
    • Bernardo Bellotto: Venice, the Grand Canal: looking south-west, from the Rial Bridge to the Palazzo Foscari   
    • Gaspar van Wittel: Rome, a view of the river Tiber at the Porto della Legna looking towards Castel Sant’Angelo, with Saint Peter’s Basilica in the distance
    • Francesco Guardi: Venice, the Punta della Dogana

To read the full report, please click here.


Rauschenberg’s Canyon Goes to MOMA: Nationalization Case Study

November 30, 2012

On November 28, The New York Times ran a story titled “MOMA Gets Treasure that Met Also Coveted,” which focused on the decision by Ileana Sonnabend’s heirs to donate an important artwork by Robert Rauschenberg Canyon to MOMA. Among other information, the article details the issue that made the family consider such a decision in the first place—the bitter dispute with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which had levied a significant inheritance tax to be paid on the artwork after it was inherited by Sonnabend’s children in 2007 ($29.2 million in estate tax and another $11.7 million in penalties).

This story was fascinating to Skate’s for several reasons. First, there is a real issue concerning the extent to which the IRS claims could be considered reasonable. Second, the nationalization case study created by this “donation” is interesting in its own right…

To read the full text with data, please click here.

Monthly Art Investment Ideas – November 2012

November 13, 2012

This issue of Skate’s Art Investment Review focuses on the most important auction results in October, as well as major upcoming sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

In this Issue:

  • October Sales Results: Entrants to Skate’s Top 5000
  • Andy Warhol Market Phenomenon
  • Celebrity Portraits by Andy Warhol: Men, Women and Himself
  • Top 3 Art Investment Ideas for November 2012
    • Marlon by Andy Warhol   
    • Flowers by Andy Warhol
    • Hammer and sickle by Andy Warhol
  • Investment Benchmarks of the Warhol Market

To read the full report, please click here.



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