The Art Market in the Age of COVID-19

Hello and welcome to our inaugural newsletter. As appraisers of fine art, antiques and decorative art, we want to bring you the latest art market news. We will highlight local artists and dealers, as well as art management strategies. This month, you’ll find information about the state of the global art market in the age of COVID-19.

As always, we are available to answer your questions and offer guidance. We’re also offering complementary insurance policy reviews to determine if current policies require updates. To request a policy review or art legacy planning advice, email:

We welcome your feedback and look forward to working with you. Please stay healthy and safe during this time.

The Global Art Market in the Age of COVID-19
  • Fine art auction sales plummeted 76% in March 2020
  • Live auctions and art fairs are cancelled
  • Galleries are closed
  • Buyers are very cautious
  • Sellers hoard their goods
  • Lower priced work sees most action
  • New buyers emerge
Auctions During COVID-19
Volume of Online Auctions Up 63%
  • Online auctions are up 63%, becoming the new normal
  • Sotheby’s has been the industry leader online
  • 14 digital sales in March generating $26 Million
  • 43 online events planned for April and May
  • Christie’s increased online sales in April and May from 9 to 20
  • Phillips’ 20th Century Contemporary Art auction had record number of participants with bidders from 47 countries
  • Skinner reported $1.2 Million in sales of American Furniture and Decorative Arts
Online Auction Spending Still Lower than Live
  • Online spending is a fraction of live auction spending
  • Consignment of works over $10M dropped 90%
  • Average sale price for work sold online last month was $11,191
  • a 68% reduction from March 2019
  • Average price of work sold at a live auction in 2019 was $35,000
Online Platforms Open Up New Collector Base
  • Wealthy millennials are energizing e-commerce with online buying habits
  • Online art sales have drawn many new clients
  • Sotheby’s and Christie’s reported 30% – 35% of online bidders were new
  • 40% of online art buyers were first-timers
  • Online platform is more accessible and a less intimidating venue for new art collectors
  • Online platform allows for more decision-making time
Galleries Suffer, Yet Build Communities to Stay Afloat
  • Galleries worldwide expect to lose an average of 72% revenue
  • One-third of galleries many not survive the crisis
  • Mega-galleries have resources to create virtual gallery presence online, while smaller galleries are challenged
  • Galleries are collaborating to survive
  • David Zwirner Gallery shares digital platform with 12 smaller galleries
  • Sixty Los Angeles galleries launching communally owned digital infrastructure called GalleryPlatform.LA
Are Art Fairs a Thing of the Past?
  • Lockdown has hit art fairs the hardest – most cancelled or postponed
  • Digital version of the Dallas Art Fair last week satisfied participating dealers in sales of works under $25,000
  • Art Basel in Switzerland, the most important (and lucrative) fair for modern and contemporary art in the world, postponed to September but unclear if such large-scale event —which last year drew 93,000 people over six days—would be permitted by the fall.
Has the Value of My Art Been Affected?
  • Hard to measure health of art market across the board
  • Depends artist by artist
  • Blue chip artists with international recognition are doing well
  • Artists with prolific output and variety of price points are doing well
  • Next 2 months will reveal more information with June sale results
  • We’re in a paradigm shift in the art world
  • Online platforms are here to stay
  • Those who adapt will survive
  • Increased accessibility to art buying platforms
  • Most active price range is $25,000 and under
  • Emergence of new collectors
  • Increased price transparency