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2021 Market Preview (Phillips)

January 15, 2021

In a very challenging year, Phillips rose to the occasion, fully embracing our digital-first ethos to hold an extraordinary set of live auctions which exploded company records across the globe. We brought new artists to auction, supported the charitable causes we care about, and launched the next-generation auction experience, Gallery One. We look forward to a bright 2021. After a year of innovation and change, our specialists predict what we can expect for the New Year.


20th Century & Contemporary Art

“2021 will see a continuation of many of the market trends we’ve seen in 2020—a focus on collectors and museums looking to expand the accepted canon of artists to include a diversity of perspectives. When the pandemic abates, hopefully by the spring of 2021, we will see more collectors than ever before flocking to our showrooms, eager to have a direct engagement with the art and objects they love so much. Until then, collectors will continue to embrace buying online, and this is a trend that will endure. Look to see Phillips continue to aggressively pursue our Digital First initiatives, giving our clients unrivalled access to information and tools to engage with art, whether it is in person or online." – Robert Manley, Deputy Chairman and Worldwide Co-Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art



"The Editions Department is known for offering a massive quantity of quality material spanning the 20th and 21st centuries. With online bidding fostering a sizable influx of new collectors, we hope to continue with this reputation and expose our clientele to the depth the print world has to offer.

Colorful, iconic works as well as, hidden art historical gems will be highly sought after in 2021. International bidders will continue to be enchanted by small or unknown editions, as well as, one-off proofs. This coming year, we expect to see new voices enter the print market and blue-chip mainstays to continue to garner strong interest." – Cary Leibowitz and Kelly Troester, Worldwide Co-Heads of Editions


Art World Sets Plans for 2021 Fairs (New york times)

Exhibitors and collectors are looking cautiously forward in the coming year, knowing that their schedules will be at the mercy of the coronavirus.

Now, as countries roll out vaccination programs, even with the virus continuing to mutate and infection levels rising, the art world is banking on the return of in-person events. In November, live fairs made a comeback for local collectors in China, where infection rates had subsided.

The ARCO Madrid fair has shifted from February to July, as has Frieze Los Angeles, which this year will leave Paramount Studios and be dispersed across several smaller venues in the city. Tefaf Maastricht has moved from its traditional March slot to May, as has Art Basel Hong Kong. Frieze New York says it will maintain its usual May timing, but it has cut its exhibitor list by two-thirds and will move from Randall’s Island to the Shed, the new cultural center in the Hudson Yards area of Manhattan. Arguably, the bellwether test for the mass-attendance art fair model will come in June at Art Basel in Switzerland. In recent years, the event has become a must-attend fixture for most international collectors. The in-person fair, which usually features about 290 exhibitors drawing about 90,000 visitors, was canceled last year and converted to an online format

“If th​ings go quickly in the right direction with new vaccination programs and we start to see a lifting of travel restrictions, we’d love to have Art Basel Hong Kong in May and Art Basel in Basel come June mark the beginning of a huge comeback for the art world and the art market,” said Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director. “Now, that’s our hope, but it’s not our only scenario.”

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