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Artprice traces the Art Market's recent history via Sotheby's
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PARIS, Dec. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Between its second IPO in 1988 and its delisting in October 2019, the prestigious American auction house often reoriented its global strategy and made numerous operational adjustments involving cost management, offering more guarantees, structural reorganizations, new managerial team, etc. But Sotheby's has arguably made the biggest change in its history this year, by completely dematerializing its catalogs and asserting itself as the leading platform for online Fine Art auctions.

Evolution of Sotheby’s Fine Art auctions (Jan. 1990 - Nov. 2020)

"The history of Sotheby's over the past thirty years is a marvelous illustration of the recent history of the Art Market," says thierry Ehrmann, President and Founder of Artmarket.com and of its Artprice department. Artprice traces this history through the three main periods preceding Sotheby's acquisition by Patrick Drahi and its digital transformation in 2020.

1988 – 2000: two successive bubbles

At the end of the 1980s globalization took Art prices to new heights. The $78 million hammered in 1990 for Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Au Moulin de la Galette (1876) set a historic record at Sotheby's which lasted 14 years. But the financial disequilibrium resulting from the arrival of Japanese collectors supported by their fast growing economy led to a price crisis often referred to as the "Impressionist bubble".

After a couple of difficult years in 1991-1992 (that dealers and galleries still remember), the Art Market rapidly stabilized. Sotheby's intensified its operations taking advantage of technological innovations linked to the development of Internet. In 1999, Sotheby's recorded 27,550 Fine Art transactions, the highest annual number in its history. But the "Internet bubble" ended with a stock market meltdown.

2001 – 2008: up to the last moment...

For three years, from 2001 to 2003, Sotheby's gradually reduced the intensity of its operations. This allowed the firm to return to a more solid base which underpinned the following four years (2004-2007) and a quadrupling of its Fine Art auction turnover (3.8x). The Art Market was entering a new era and Sotheby's wanted to be at the helm. On 5 May 2004, an artwork crossed the symbolic $100 million threshold for the first time when Sotheby's sold Picasso's Le Garçon à la Pipe Pablo (1905) for $104.6 million in New York.

In 2007 Sotheby's posted a 50% increase in its turnover and its growth was steaming ahead as 2008 unfolded. However, the collapse of Lehmann Brothers on 15 September heralded the start of a major financial crisis. Ironically, on the same day, Sotheby's went ahead with its famous Damien Hirst sale Beautiful Inside My Head Forever in London generating $73 million.

2009 – 2019: major restructuring

Although the 2009 art market was impacted by the financial crisis (-60%), Sotheby's Fine Art turnover remained higher than its pre-2004 figures. However, it clearly decided to reduce its volume to a relatively stable 11,000 to 15,000 lots sold per year. This strategy quickly paid off and Sotheby's recorded the best two years in its history in 2013 and 2014, with each year boasting a result above the $100 million threshold.

Between 2016 and 2019, Sotheby's started to seek a new equilibrium, notably via the development of online sales. In 2017, the company attempted to boost its online sales channel by waiving buyer fees... only to reintroduce them the following year. Works by Basquiat, Modigliani and Monet – which marked these four years – were all sold in traditional auction rooms.

This is no longer the case in 2020: on 29 June Sotheby's managed to sell its star lot, Francis Bacon's triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus (1981), for $88.55 million (incl. fees) during a online sale broadcast on Internet. Sotheby's clearly sees the future of Fine Art auctions in this new format...

*Don't hesitate to contact our Econometrics Department  for your requirements  regarding  statistics and personalized studies: econometrics@artprice.com

Images:

[https://imgpublic.artprice.com/img/wp/sites/11/2020/11/fine-art-sothebys.png]
[https://imgpublic.artprice.com/img/wp/sites/11/2020/11/artprice-global-index-vs-sothebys-bid.png]

Copyright 1987-2020 thierry Ehrmann www.artprice.com - www.artmarket.com

Try our services (free demo): https://www.artprice.com/demo

Subscribe to our services: https://www.artprice.com/subscription

About Artmarket:

Artmarket.com is listed on Eurolist by Euronext Paris, SRD long only and Euroclear: 7478 - Bloomberg: PRC - Reuters: ARTF.

Discover Artmarket and its Artprice department on video: https://en.artprice.com/video

Artmarket and its Artprice department was founded in 1997 by its CEO, thierry Ehrmann. Artmarket and its Artprice department is controlled by Groupe Serveur, created in 1987.

See certified biography in Who's who ©:

https://imgpublic.artprice.com/img/wp/sites/11/2019/10/biographie_oct2019_WhosWho_thierryEhrmann.pdf

Artmarket is a global player in the Art Market with, among other structures, its Artprice department, world leader in the accumulation, management and exploitation of historical and current art market information in databanks containing over 30 million indices and auction results, covering more than 744,000 artists.

Artprice Images ® allows unlimited access to the largest Art Market image bank in the world: no less than 180 million digital images of photographs or engraved reproductions of artworks from 1700 to the present day, commented by our art historians.

Artmarket with its Artprice department accumulates data on a permanent basis from 6300 Auction Houses and produces key Art Market information for the main press and media agencies (7,200 publications). Its 4.5 million 'members log in' users have access to ads posted by other members, a network that today represents the leading Global Standardized Marketplace ® to buy and sell artworks at a fixed or bid price (auctions regulated by paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article L 321.3 of France's Commercial Code).

Artmarket with its Artprice department, has been awarded the State label "Innovative Company" by the Public Investment Bank (BPI) (for the second time in November 2018 for a new period of 3 years) which is supporting the company in its project to consolidate its position as a global player in the market art.

Artprice by Artmarket's 2019 Global Art Market Report published in February 2020 :

https://www.artprice.com/artprice-reports/the-art-market-in-2019

Index of press releases posted by Artmarket with its Artprice department:

http://serveur.serveur.com/press_release/pressreleaseen.htm

Follow all the Art Market news in real time with Artmarket and its Artprice department on Facebook and Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/artpricedotcom/  (4.9 million followers)

https://twitter.com/artmarketdotcom

https://twitter.com/artpricedotcom

Discover the alchemy and universe of Artmarket and its artprice department http://web.artprice.com/video  headquartered at the famous Organe Contemporary Art Museum "The Abode of Chaos" (dixit The New York Times): https://issuu.com/demeureduchaos/docs/demeureduchaos-abodeofchaos-opus-ix-1999-2013

L'Obs - The Museum of the Future: https://youtu.be/29LXBPJrs-o

https://www.facebook.com/la.demeure.du.chaos.theabodeofchaos999

(4.5 million followers)

https://vimeo.com/124643720

Contact Artmarket.com and its Artprice department - Contact: thierry Ehrmann, ir@artmarket.com

 

Photo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1345018/Evolution_of_Sothebys_Fine_Art_auctions_Infographic.jpg
Photo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1345017/artprice_global_index_vs_sothebys_bid_Infographic.jpg
Logo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1009603/Art_Market_logo.jpg

 

Artprice Global Index vs. Sotheby’s (BID) share price - Base 100 in January 2000*

 

Art Market logo

 

 

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