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1.1 Definition and scope of study

The art market refers to the production and trade of works of art and antiques. The art auction market focuses on auctions, which accounted for 42% of global art sales in 2019, and therefore excludes art dealer sales (58% of global sales) which are the subjet of another study.

According to Wondeur AI's classification, the production of works of art is divided between star artists (1% of the world's artists), celebrated artists (1%), established artists (14%) and emerging and under-represented artists (84%).

The art market can also be segmented by category of work (sculpture, painting etc.), by period (contemporary, modern etc.) or by price range.

The global art auction market was worth US$24.2 billion in 2019, a 17% decline compared to 2018, after two consecutive years of growth. However, private sales increased, with Sotheby's and Christie's selling $1.8 billion worth of art on the private circuit.

The sector is largely dominated by the United States, China and the United Kingdom, which accounted for 84% of the market value in 2019. The global market is traditionally very closed and is dominated by large auction houses such as Christie's, Sotheby's, Phillips, Poly Auction, China Guardian and Heritage Auctions.

For many years, the French art auction market has been characterized by its strong stability. It experienced the strongest growth in the world in 2019, increasing by 16% compared to 2018. These figures relate to "fine art" and therefore exclude sales of antiques, historic furniture and decorative objects. The specific characteristics of the French market, which is less speculative, more fragmented and more diversified, also play in its favor.

In addition, the market is going digital, not only because of the increase in sales on the Internet, but also because of the growing influence of online information tools and social networks such as Instagram.






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