Print and Multiples Edge Ahead in Online Sales

After digesting the latest Hiscox report, some critics are focusing on the rise of the online art market and emphasizing its potential for growth, while the others are calling it a far cry from the promised, and perhaps expected, boom. In the midst of all the changes and major auction houses stepping into the world of online sales, there seems to be an evident surge in the print and multiple market. It’s clear the online access has brought about a much broader spectrum of buyers and sellers, thus influencing the current trends and even hinting at the new ones to come. With the political turmoil in the world slowly settling down, the impact on the international art market is now getting clearer.

Just last month, both Sotheby’s and Phillips saw quite positive print sales emerging from different auctions. Namely, Phillip’s Editions auction in New York managed to raise $6.2 million, which was the company’s record in the category. Out of the 88% of the sold lots, 35% went to the online buyers. It is interesting to note that almost half of those internet purchases came from bidders through intermediaries like Invaluable, eBay and Artsy. These aggregators are steadily increasing online print sales by bringing a new wave of buyers to the  auction market.

Another relatively affordable, yet increasingly popular, strain of artworks in the art market are Picasso’s ceramics. They seem to be everywhere and the sales are more than successful every time. Ceramic works aren’t the first thing that pops up when such a legend as Picasso is mentioned, but the artist actually designed 633 different ceramic editions between 1947 and 1971. From decorated plates and bowls to more complex forms like vases and pitchers with handles shaped to form facial features, Picasso created a wide variety of ceramic works. Over the past decade, the market for Picasso ceramics has been on a steady rise. More recently, due to the aforementioned intermediaries, the incline of the sales has been elevated even further.

With political uncertainty considered the main risk to the art market in 2017, the results are slowly coming in. The anxiety about the influence of Brexit on the art market is slowly, but surely, fading out. The freedom from EU controls actually turned out to be a great thing according to experts, the UK can now shed or at least reduce the regulatory burdens that have piled up over the decades. This will surely strengthen London’s competitive position against New York, Hong Kong and other major art trade centers. Furthermore, there have been reports lately about a patriotic boom in historical British art with a long-forgotten artwork by the 17th-century British artist William Dobson that set a new auction record of £1m-plus.

After the victory of Macron in France, the cultural sector can sleep easy now. With very different plans and programs in regards to the art market, the two opposing presidential candidates had a lot in store for the future of France. Luckily for the pro-European oriented public, and most of the French cultural sector, it is Macron’s ideas and plans that are to be turned into reality.

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