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Art Market Explodes: Huge Surge in Art Sales as Records Continue to be Broken

·4 min read

Park West Gallery broke their all-time online art auction records for three consecutive weekends in January, showing the art market's amazing growth

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- While the world economy continues to struggle due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still exciting signs of growth in the art world.

Park West Executive Vice President John Block auctions off an artwork by Miami artist David “Lebo” Le Batard.
Park West Executive Vice President John Block auctions off an artwork by Miami artist David “Lebo” Le Batard.

According to a report commissioned by the London-based international insurance group Hiscox, 2020 saw a tremendous explosion in the popularity of online art auctions with an over 524% increase in global sales from 2019 to 2020.

That report matches data from many of the world's leading art dealers, including Park West Gallery, which has been conducting online auctions since April 2020. "I think we're seeing a fundamental shift in how people buy art," said Park West Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione. "The online experience has a lot of benefits, ranging from convenience to selection to pricing, and I think online auctions are here to stay. And collectors are telling us that through the sales numbers we're seeing."

Park West's online art auctions showed steady growth throughout 2020, but they have seen a dramatic lift in popularity during the first weeks of 2021. After breaking their all-time online record on New Year's weekend with a special three-year-old art auctioneer bringing down the final gavel, Park West began a string of three consecutive record-breaking events only two weeks later with each event posting multi-million dollar sales. In January, Park West went on to break their previous online records for total sales, highest attendance, total number of works sold, and highest dollar value sold at a single event.

"We hold online auctions every weekend and January 2021 has been our best month yet," said Scaglione. "Every week, we break our previous online records. It's been incredible." Park West's most recent auction weekend starting January 28—featuring art by artists like Romero Britto, Marc Chagall, and Victor Vasarely—was their highest-grossing online auction weekend to date.

Barron's, the Dow Jones & Company magazine, reported that, in 2020, total global online-only art sales brought in $1.05 billion, "breaking through the $1 billion mark for the first time."

The Hiscox report—which was created in collaboration with ArtTactic, a noted art research firm—points to a positive future for online art auctions in 2021 and beyond. In the report's study of buyer behavior, it found that 4 out of 10 online art buyers said that they were likely to buy more art in 2021 than they had in 2020. (5 out of 10 online art buyers said they expected to buy the same amount year-over-year.)

The report also notes that a majority of millennials (53%) bought their art through online auctions in 2020, and that online art buyers spent more per purchase in 2020 than they did in 2019. The Hiscox report argued that these trends did not appear to be temporary in nature, calling out that "65% of online sales platforms said they expected the pandemic to have a permanent and transformative impact on the sector."

What does this say about the future of the online art market? John Block, Park West's Executive Vice President, said that he's excited to have a new way to share art with his collectors. "We originally moved to online auctions out of necessity due to COVID-19, but we quickly learned that going online wasn't just a stop-gap. It unlocked a whole new market for our company. That should tell you a lot about the global importance of art. Even during a pandemic, online art sales have skyrocketed because people still want the joy of collecting art. We just had to find the right way to give them what they were looking for."

Park West Gallery hosts live-streaming online art auctions every weekend. To learn more about Park West's online collecting events, visit https://www.parkwestgallery.com/online/

About Park West Gallery

Park West Gallery is the world's largest art dealer, bringing the experience of collecting fine art to more than 3 million customers since 1969. Whether it's masterpieces from history's greatest artists or the latest artwork from leading contemporary icons, Park West offers something for everyone through its accessible art exhibitions and auctions all over the world. You can learn more about Park West Gallery and its over 50-year history at http://www.parkwestgallery.com

CONTACT: Tom Burns
tburns@parkwestgallery.com

Park West Executive Vice President John Block and Gallery Director Morris Shapiro appear alongside original art by Peter Nixon and Marcel Mouly.
Park West Executive Vice President John Block and Gallery Director Morris Shapiro appear alongside original art by Peter Nixon and Marcel Mouly.
Park West Executive Vice President John Block tells online auction viewers about art by French artist Bernard Louedin.
Park West Executive Vice President John Block tells online auction viewers about art by French artist Bernard Louedin.
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SOURCE Park West Gallery