Lindsay Dewar on Art Market Development

Stepping into 2023, the art market landscape began to shift quite significantly according to ArtTactic’s reports.

At EduArt Club, we’re all about sparking conversations. Our proximity to art experts is one of our most valuable assets, allowing us to facilitate international idea exchange and gain fresh perspectives on the arts, even within our local context.

We had the privilege of sitting down with Lindsay Dewar, the Head of Analytics and the research team leader at ArtTactic, a London-based art research center specialising in art market analysis. Together, we explored the art market landscape of the first half of 2023 and discussed the outlook for the rest of the year.

Below, we share a brief summary of the major insights delivered by our dear guest lecturer. We hope you’ll find these as valuable as we did.

February 2023: Shifting Confidence in the Art Market

Leading into 2023, economic pressures and global events have caused a noticeable decline in art market confidence among art experts. How can one measure what can seem to be quite a nebulous concept you may ask.

ArtTactic conducts surveys by polling over 150 art experts, primarily inquiring about their outlook on the art market for the upcoming 6-12 months. Participants respond with positive, neutral, or negative votes, from which an average sentiment is derived. To ensure consistency, at least 80% of the respondents are retained across surveys, although there are inevitable changes due to the dynamic nature of the art world.

Coming back to what has been noted above, the failing confidence amongst experts was also substantiated by data. Indeed, auction sales in the first half of 2023 dropped by 18.2%, signalling a potential correction in prices and a more measured approach from both buyers and sellers. This is however not indicating that the volume of sales and lots is decreasing; on the contrary. In the first half of 2023, we saw a + 7.9% increase within the volume of both online and online sales and lots.

Now, what are some of the specific 2023 art market trends that are particularly interesting to follow?

Prints & Editions Market on the Rise

The Prints & Editions market is gaining traction, offering more affordable entry points into art collecting. In fact, the value of print sales in the first half of the year nearly doubled from the previous year. As Lindsay herself noted: ‘It is nice to see a market where there is a lot of positivity and people here are really engaged … It is an interesting market where there is a lot happening.’

NextGen Artists: A Cooling Trend

In 2021, we could see a remarkable rise in the popularity of the so-called Next-Gen artists (artists who are under 45 when selling their artworks). This trend however slowed down in 2022, indicating a more measured approach from the side of art buyers. And while in 2023 NextGen artists continue to sell, there is a cooling trend within this market demonstrating a less speculative and more thoughtful take on art collecting. The NextGen market currently profiles itself as an area demonstrating a slight correction.

Empowering Women Artists

The desire to support women artists is only getting stronger in the art market. Both the value and the number of women artists sold at auction are on the rise. There is now an increasing number of art collectors who are focusing on women’s art exclusively. Furthermore, auction houses are seeking to ensure the parity between sales of women and men artists’ works. To this, Lindsay further adds: ‘It’s great to see not just the value for these artists going up, but also the number of artists who are in the market and are being shown, exhibited, and bought – all of this indicates a level of confidence’.

2nd Half of the Year: Where are we heading next?

According to the ArtTactic survey Lindsay presented us, the majority of the art experts estimate we are going to continue the other half of 2023 in the same direction as we have been going in so far this year. As she commented during our lecture: ‘At times people are talking about down-turns, or consolidation and correction, and actually, a lot of people currently think the art market is going to continue as it is at the moment.’ However, given the turbulent socio-economic climate we are all now facing, the stability can be, after all, considered as a positive future outlook.