Contemporary African art – mixed auction results – artprice.com
In 2010, contemporary African art has been the theme of numerous sales. However, despite new records for certain African artists, the high unsold rates made for only partially successful results.
Inaugurated by Sotheby’s Contemporary African art sale (the Jean Pigozzi collection) on 24 June 1999, the event drew a limited audience and the bidding was sluggish (none of the lots reached beyond £10,000).
Today auction houses regularly present sales around the theme of Contemporary African art: Bonhams with Africa now (10 March 2010), Phillips de Pury with Africa (15 May 2010), Gaïa with Afriques (31 May 2010), Artcurial with Africa scenes 1 (24 October 2010), Graham’s Fine Art Auctioneers …
Between January 2002 and January 2007, the prices of Contemporary African art rose sharply (+370% in 5 years) under the influence of an emerging markets boom and speculative buying, before contracting slightly (-25%) between January 2007 and January 2010. But the proliferation of sales devoted to African art in 2010 has triggered only a moderate trend reversal. The price index for African art has indeed gained 19.6% since January 2010, but the auction houses have recorded unusually high unsold rates. 60.4% at Bonhams, 38.7% at Phillips de Pury, 82.9% at Gaïa and 74.2% at Artcurial.