Introducing The Artnet Intelligence Report, Fall 2022 Edition

Click here to login. Already a member? The full report can be found here.

“You’re not your job.” It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard your therapist say at least a dozen times.

But when you’re an artist (and especially when you’re a good one), the line between you and your work is bound to be thin. So what happens when you sell a piece of yourself to a collector who promises to take care of it and look after it, only to find out that six months later they’ve sold it to the highest bidder? And to make matters worse, they ended up making seven times what you, the creator, paid for it.

In most industries, investors are lauded for this kind of clever arbitrage. But the art market is not most industries. Here’s a key difference: asset creators don’t benefit directly when their work is resold at a much higher price. Now, as the demand for ultra-contemporary art is reaching new heights, artists, their galleries and some savvy entrepreneurs are trying to tip the scales and help artists capitalize on the rampant speculation in their work in the secondary market. This shift is all the more urgent as storm clouds gather on the broader economy horizon.

In this issue, we explore the many different mechanisms artists use to fight fins—and even beat them at their own game. Some of these measures are technological in nature: tools like smart contracts can automate the distribution of royalties and enable artists to customize the terms of a resale. Other initiatives, such as Artist’s Choice at Sotheby’s and a new sales series by Simon de Pury, allow artists to put an end to fins and put their work up for auction directly.

Then, of course, there are the age-old tactics of social pressure, like blacklisting galleries and outing bad actors. In her authoritative cover story, Katya Kazakina examines the rise of flipping, the worst culprits, and how it’s moving forward. She also interviews the practice’s patron saint, Stefan Simchowitz, on how artists have gained the upper hand.

The phenomenon of art flipping sums up what defines the art market: It’s big business built on the creativity, vulnerability and personal expression of real people. As one of the artists interviewed for this issue put it, giving the creators a percentage of the profits from resale would at least help fund therapy.

Julia Halperin


– Marketplace
Why auction sales surged while the rest of the economy faltered
Which young artists are gaining the most traction?
The top 10 lots in each main category in the first half of 2022

– Revenge of the weary artists
by Katya Kasakina
Wild speculation has turned the emerging art market upside down. Now artists are determined to take back control — and make money along the way.

– A Q&A with the original pinball machine
by Katya Kasakina
Stefan Simchowitz, the Wheeler dealer who brought flipping to the fore in the mid-2010s, tells us how the practice has changed.

– The resale invoice
by Katya Kazakina and Eileen Kinsella
We break down the spread between primary and secondary prices for labor by 11 favorites of the auction circuit.

– Can smart contracts save the day?
by Tim Schneider
Smart contracts are artists’ best weapon in the fight against fins. So why aren’t they more common?

data diving
by Naomi Rea
How many masterpieces can the market accommodate?
Which auction house is the leader?
The top 10 lots in each main category in the first half of 2022

– From studio to auction block
by Artnet News and Morgan Stanley
The path from the studio to the auction block has shortened considerably in the last decade. That means for the art market.

Click here to login. Already a member? The full report can be found here.


© Artnet Price Database and Artnet Analytics 2022.

© Artnet Price Database and Artnet Analytics 2022.

  • A large a total of $7.9 billion was spent on art at auction in the first half of 2022 – an increase of about 0.1 percent from the reference period 2021.
  • Online sales are slowing down. That Big three housesalong with Bonhams’ own auction platform and Artnet $197.6 million in pure online art sales in the first half of 2022, down 71.5 percent from the same period in 2021. However, this number is increased by almost 320 percent out the first half of 2019.
  • China just recorded $927.9 million throughout the art sale, down 62.1 percent from the first half of 2021, when the yuan fell sharply against the dollar, extended lockdowns restricted travel to and from Asia, and the Chinese real estate market became increasingly vulnerable.
  • That only price range an increase in total sales year after year was seen for Works valued at more than $10 million. Sales in this top tier increased almost 30 percent.
  • Ultra contemporary art—our term for work by artists born after 1974, which for years has been the fastest growing sector of the market—has swayed. The sector has delivered $365.3 million an increase of 6.5 percent in the first six months of the year. That’s smaller than any other category in terms of annual growth.
  • Impressionism and modern art overtook them Post-war and present category as the biggest money earner for the first time since 2019 $3.3 billion in sales.
  • Christies has taken the crown from the rival Sotheby’s, generate $3 billion in total art sales in the first half of 2022. This number is increased by 44 percent from the corresponding period in 2021 and also earns the house the title of “most improved”.

Click here to login. Already a member? The full report can be found here.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news, insightful interviews and incisive critical statements that drive the conversation.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *