Why 2022 could be a massive year for art

The sale of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe kicked off what could be a massive year for art.

The 2 most expensive pieces of American art to sell at auction were created by a pair of old Greenwich Village pals.

Why 2022 could be a massive year for art

In 2017, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled” (1982) sold for $110.5m, setting the record for an American work.

On Monday, Andy Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” shattered Basquiat’s record, selling for $195m, per The New York Times.

The purchase…

… kicked off a 2-week auction marathon with an estimated $2.6B on the line. And expectations are high — Warhol’s record-breaking painting sold in 4 minutes, proving that, despite a terrible stretch for the stock market, there’s still an appetite for iconic paintings.

After weathering a turbulent 2020, the art market bounced back with a massive recovery in 2021. A recent report from cultural economist Clare McAndrew attributes the rebound to several factors, including some new trends:

  • Online sales, which accounted for 20% of total sales in 2021
  • NFTs, which pulled new buyers into the fold — 78% of Sotheby’s NFT bidders were new to the auction house, and 50%+ were under 40

This contributed to $65B in total sales for auction houses selling art and antiques — up 29% from 2020, and eclipsing 2019’s total as well.

But 2022 could be bigger

One reason? Art is often viewed as a hedge against inflation, which is near 40-year highs. Another reason is an influx of pieces from some big-time names, including:

  • Basquiat, whose billboard-sized “Untitled” is worth an estimated $70m
  • Mark Rothko, who has 2 paintings going on auction estimated at $145m combined
  • Jackson Pollock, whose “Number 31” has an asking price of $45m+

So, why are there so many heavy hitters on the market this spring? According to one expert, it’s pretty simple — looking at the market’s performance these last 2 years, sellers believe it’s a good time to sell.

New call-to-action
Topics: Entertainment

Related Articles

Get the 5-minute news brief keeping 2.5M+ innovators in the loop. Always free. 100% fresh. No bullsh*t.