5 déc. 2007

Art at Auction : a Predictable Market

In our approach to show that the price of art is not the result of chance, we studied the highest auction results since 1989.
Changes at the top from year to year is not flagrant. This comment enables to perform a pertinent analysis of changing patterns at this very high level.
We observe that some signatures are decreasing: European and even some American abstract painters, impressionist painters except their leaders.
Others have moved permanently to the top during that period: Klimt and Schiele in 1994, Rothko in 1997, Warhol, Basquiat and Richter in 1998, Soutine in 2001, Koons in 2007.

By statistical methods, we can predict what artists will cover the 100 biggest auction results of the world market in 2008:

19 artists regularly in sales will share 70 of the first 100 lots (and all will be present in this list): Bacon, Basquiat, Cézanne, DeKooning, Feininger, Freud, Gauguin, Giacometti, Leger, Matisse, Miro, Modigliani, Monet , Picasso, Pissarro, Renoir, Rothko, Schiele, Warhol.

10 artists will share 10 places, some with several works. They cannot be fully predicted, because it depends on whether key works will be presented: Chagall, Degas, Gris, Johns, Koons, Lichtenstein, Moore, Richter, Soutine, Toulouse-Lautrec, vanGogh.

15 artists who already reached that level at least once since 1989 shall come back because of the submission of an exceptional piece. They are 300 candidates, needless to be listed.
Of these 15, the old masters take 5 seats. Their names depend on the offer which, because of the scarcity, is more difficult to predict. The most likely are Canaletto or one of his followers (Bellotto, Guardi), Rembrandt, El Greco, Rubens, Peter II Brueghel, Cranach.

There will be 5 newcomers, either because of the submission of an exceptional piece, or as artists emerging from this market level. After Hirst and Doig who came into the (provisional) list in 2007, let us take the risk to cite a few names among the youngest who have never yet reached this level: Kelly, Polke, Prince.

In his future review of 2008 sales, ArtHitParade will compare results with the predictions of this article.

The method used for this analysis can be applied to any sector or subsector of the market, provided we have a reliable enough database.

Pierre Tavlitzki, December 5, 2007.