African art “coming-of-age”; demand for the Middle East continues with spotlight on Iran as economic sanctions lift.
Continuing with our two-part summary of ArtTactic’s “Global Art Market Review & Outlook 2016” report, Art Radar brings you key findings concerning Africa and the Middle East.
Rising demand stimulated by auctions
Both Africa and the Middle east saw a rise in 2015. Bonhams’ “Africa Now” auctions at raised USD2.52 million in 2015, up a staggering 53 percent from 2014. The auction house, currently the only global auction house operating in the region, organised three dedicated sales to African modern and contemporary art in 2015, compared to only one annual sale in previous years. The Nigerian auction house Art House Contemporary registered USD1.3 million in sales in 2015, up 10.5 percent from 2014.
In the Middle East, total auction sales (Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams combined) for modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art rose five percent. Both Sotheby’s and Bonhams added new auction sales in 2015, increasing their presence in the region. According to the Report, Bonhams added two London sales focusing on Iraqi and modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art, while Sotheby’s organised a Contemporary sale in Doha and included a selection of Middle Eastern artists in their “20th Century Art – A Different Perspective” in December 2015.
Up until 2015, Christie’s had been the only auction house with a long-term and continuous commitment to Middle Eastern modern and contemporary art through their biannual sales in Dubai, but this is about to change. ArtTactic reveals:
There are signs that both Sotheby’s and Bonhams are increasing their focus on the region. More competition will help increase the size of the Middle-Eastern art market and broaden the collector base.
Spotlight on Iran: Lifting economic sanctions
According to the Report, Iranian, Lebanese and Egyptian art dominated in 2015. 75 percent of Christie’s recent sale in October 2015 was accounted for by artists from these regions, while at Bonhams, modern Iraqi artists accounted for 42 percent of total sales.
ArtTactic awards the Middle East a neutral-to-positive outlook for 2016, with a slight downside risk. The research firm’s survey reveals concerns about the market over the next 12 months, with war, terrorism and geo-political tension cited as the main reasons.
The spotlight is however on Iran, where economic sanctions are being lifted. ArtTactic writes:
[The] Iranian art market could see a lift in 2016 […] economists and market commentators expect strong economic growth in the country in the years to come. We believe this could fuel the already active domestic art market, and further strength- en Iranian artists’ position in the international art market.
African market coming-of-age; auctions to enter
Currently, Bonhams is the only global auction house dedicated to African modern and contemporary art. ArtTactic predicts that on the back of Bonhams’ success, Phillips, Sotheby’s and Christie’s could start to dedicate new sales to the region. The Report awards the African modern and contemporary art market a neutral-to-positive outlook for the next 12 months, stating that:
With prices of high quality African modern and contemporary art selling in the $10,000 to $50,000 range – it offers new and existing collectors an attractive entry into this new market.
A notable development in the African art market in 2015 was the arrival of the corporate art collection of Afren, a London-listed oil drilling company, into the market. 100 works of art from the collection was reportedly sold through Bonhams in October 2015, raising an amount of USD575,000.
Another key milestone in the continuous opening up of the African art market was the expansion of leading contemporary African art fair 1:54 to New York. After a successful two editions in London, 1:54 launched its inaugural US fair in New York in May 2015. The fair revealed its exhibitor list for its May 2016 second edition last month. Speaking to Artnet, Julie Taylor, Founder and Director of online South African gallery Guns and Rain, says:
African art is perhaps ‘becoming ordinary […] If ‘ordinary’ equates to securing the independence, recognition, and respect that African art professionals have long sought, then African contemporary art is certainly much closer to coming of age.
Click here to read Art Radar’s ArtTactic Global Art Market Outlook 2016 – China, India and Southeast Asia
- The rise of the private art museum – Larry’s List report – February 2016 – Larry’s List publishes a Private Art Museum Report in light of the unprecedented boom of private museums in the past decade
- Slump continues in global market for Chinese art while Hong Kong holds strong – artnet report – September 2015 – Art Radar analyses the highlights from Artnet’s Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report 2014
- 12 resources on art investment – March 2015 – Art Radar lists 12 useful resources for art investors, whether beginners or seasoned collectors, including online platforms, research publications and books
- TEFAF Report 2015: US tops the global art market, China and UK tie at second place – March 2015 – TEFAF Art Market Report 2015 reveals an all-time high of USD53.7 billion record-breaking sales
- Larry’s List Art Collector Report 2014 – review + giveaway – February 2015 – Hong Kong-based online art collectors database Larry’s List publishes ‘Art Collector Report 2014′, the company’s first report on international art collecting
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