HJFA Noteworthy: “Art Is Among the Hottest Markets on Earth” WSJ


Gain insight into the art world with these notes from our Fine Art Consultant, Julia Jackson, on the recent Wall Street Journal article “Art Is Among the Hottest Markets on Earth” (Kelly Crow, Nov. 8, 2021).

Here are Julia’s takeaways from the article:

Market demand is its strongest in years:

This year’s New York fall auctions will attempt to sell at least $1.6 billion between Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips — a greater number than they have hit in past 3 years, with at least 15 artworks expecting to sell over $20 million apiece.

Art holdings as a portfolio strategy:

Investors are increasingly looking to move their cash into hard assets, particularly in advance of President Biden’s social and climate spending plan which will increase taxes on those earning north of $10 million annually.

Buyers are younger than ever:

Year-over-year Millennials continue to comprise larger segments of the market. This generation makes up 25% of Christie’s global clientele, while Sotheby’s cited that 1/3 of their collectors is under the age of 40.

Pivoting to a digital landscape:

As galleries, auction houses, and art fairs were forced to increase the online presence in 2020, bidding online is here to stay. Innovations continue to blossom as the industry players quickly adapted to modernize digital technologies, such as online viewing rooms to visualize art in buyers’ homes and predictive modeling based upon past bidding history. 

  • At Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Philips, online-only art sales were over $1 billion in 2020, an increase from $168 million in 2019, according to Deloitte’s Art + Finance Report

There are no rules when it comes to genres:

With an increase of artworks in the marketplace, auction houses are combining artistic movements and genres together. Sotheby’s is prominently featuring an original printing of the U.S. Constitution beside Banksy and Basquiat paintings in an upcoming sale, blurring the lines between historic artifacts and contemporary art.

Julia Jackson is a Fine Art Consultant at Heather James, based in New York. Since joining HJFA, she has secured consignments and helped build notable private collections with important artists, including Alexander Calder, Richard Diebenkorn, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Robert Motherwell, William Baziotes, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Tom Wesselmann. Julia received her B.A. from Rollins College. She is a Junior Associate at the Museum of Modern Art and a member of Soho House.


Additional Reading