Art Market Trends 2008

2008 was a wild ride for the world art market with the financial crisis catching up with auction sales. called it a year that started with “speculative euphoria” and ended with a “violent contraction.”

The Art Market Insight by Artprice is an annual publication that looks back at art auction prices for the year. Listed in the report is the top 10 artists, the top 100 auction sales, and a list of the top 500 artists by turnover for the year.

Here’s a list of the top ten artists by total turnover for 2008. I expect that dead masters like Picasso and Monet would sell $100 million+ over 12 months, but what impresses me are the living artists like Hirst, Richter and Koons that are selling similar amounts.

  1. PICASSO Pablo (1881-1973) $262,366,349 from 1764 lots sold at auction
  2. BACON Francis (1909-1992) $256,208,073 from 100 lots sold
  3. WARHOL Andy (1928-1987) $236,749,034 from 1164 lots sold
  4. HIRST Damien (1965) $230,887,159 from 445 lots sold
  5. MONET Claude (1840-1926) $174,695,716 from 25 lots sold
  6. GIACOMETTI Alberto (1901-1966) $132,631,043 from 111 lots sold
  7. RICHTER Gerhard (1932) $122,211,095 from 166 lots sold
  8. DEGAS Edgar (1834-1917) $111,835,132 from 81 lots sold
  9. FONTANA Lucio (1899-1968) $95,589,589 from 227 lots sold
  10. KLEIN Yves (1928-1962) $91,868,098 from 59 lots sold

An introduction to the Art Market Trends report can be found here, with the full 37 page Pdf file of the report available to download here.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Hi, Woopidoo

    What strikes me about this list is that rich punters who know nothing about art invest in the rubbishy products of Big Names which they believe will hold their value even when the bottom drops out of the property market. And they’re probably right!

    The other thing that strikes me is that to become a Big Name an “artist” needs a recognizable style that stands out from the crowd of much better artists and craftsmen working in the same field. I mean, if it’s big and brash and garish and chromium plated and looks as though it might have fallen off a space station designed by Cadillac, it must be a Koons. So buy, buy, buy at any price.

    Forget art, think “unique bad taste” and you should be on to a winner.

    P.S. I know you collect Mona Lisas. Have you seen the Extreme Sheep Art video I posted on my blog a week or so ago? Best laugh I’ve had in yonks.

  2. If you collect Mona Lisas then you may like this book:

    I bought a copy a couple of years ago when I went to Paris. It’s various images of the Mona Lisa that have been altered by Denis Gaydier. The intro is in both English and French the titles of the collages in French.

    It’s quirky I liked it!

  3. Ian, them sheep guys have too much spare time on their The baaa-studs.. funny.

    And yeah, like it or not, art is a commodity. The sooner artists realise theyre selling products, the sooner they can eat something more nutritious than 2 minute noodles.

    I do think the money side of art encourages a lot of crap though.

    Helly, even a reproduction of the original Mona Lisa has so many variations. I remember at art school a teacher brought in about 5 different versions of the Mona Lisa just to prove that books don’t always get it right either.

  4. So well written it’s ahead spinner pleasure to read.
    Really enjoyed the mindset take on the topic.

Speak Your Mind