What was your overall impression of the “live” virtual auctions?The live virtual auctions have been a sigh of relief and confirmation that the audience for the art market has grown and grown well beyond the 2008-09 crisis. While the total wealth held in art is expected to increase by $ 900 billion to reach $ 2.6 trillion by 2026, there is no denying the growing stability of the market. In times of crisis, art has historically proven to be a safe haven and recent auctions have shown that there is still a real global appetite for high quality, freshly marketed works, supported by a new confidence in new technology-based experiences. Collectors [and] investors remain incredibly optimistic about the long-term growth of the art market.

The three houses made the leap into the digital world by innovating during this unprecedented period, by building new technological infrastructures that made it possible to bid simultaneously on several international sites, while providing the theatrical element which made auctions famous. . It paid off, literally: the results were strong and the sales rates were high across the board.

What was one factor that significantly shaped the conduct of the auction that less seasoned observers may have missed?

It is clear that the specialists focused on quality over quantity, and they listened to the market and what it wanted. The sales may have had fewer lots, but the artwork on display was of the highest caliber, items buyers would have an appetite for in any market. Of course, the financial agreements, notably the guarantees (49.4% of the total lots), which take place both in the days and in the weeks leading up to the auction, ensured that the lots were selling well at the time of their sale. arrival at the OR.

The auctions have been carefully organized to show buyer confidence and market strength, especially at the high end. Asia’s growing participation in the market and the growth potential of younger generations of buyers through online platforms has been notable.

Was there a particular lot or collection whose performance surprised you?

The prize that surprised many of us at all levels is the amount of $ 1.8 million achieved by painting [from 2018, The Realm of Appearances], which was estimated to be between $ 60,000 and $ 80,000 – I think this result was due to usual market forces, the artist’s popularity and his untimely death. Additionally, at the macro level, I see a market trend supporting the price. There is a current movement away from the dominance of factory artists like,, and towards a more spiritual, personal and connective zeitgeist, as evidenced by the cult popularity of artists like,, and. Matthew Wong is an artist seen as part of this group. is another example of a high performing market artist embodying spiritual themes.

How do you think this summer’s virtual sales will influence future auction seasons?

There is no doubt that art is best when seen and experienced in person. Live auctions provide electricity and power that allows the auctioneer to determine the bids of participants in the room. However, as fewer people travel after COVID-19 and as we get used to new standards like Zoom, there will be a new adoption of 3D and virtual tools. Digital methods and systems from industries such as games and defense can be leveraged to help engage a larger and younger generation of new customers.

I also expect to see auction houses in different parts of the world implementing more targeted marketing strategies due to the different levels of severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in different economies, governments and cultures. The most important factor, however, will be a very careful approach to selecting content for the next big auction listing this fall.


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