Summary of our market study

In 2020, the global art and antiques market was valued at $50.1 billion, down 22% on the previous year, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Auctions, which account for around 40% of this market, experienced a slowdown, while art dealers and galleries managed to maintain sales of $30.1 billion.

The United States, China and the United Kingdom dominated over 80% of the market, with France maintaining a stable 6% share, representing a market worth $2.8 billion for art dealers and galleries.

The fine art photography sector, although representing a minor segment of the overall market, has seen an upward trend, with a significant increase in fine art photography prices.

The arrival of digital platforms like Instagram and online galleries (such as Artsper and KazoArt) has influenced the market, offering greater exposure and lower commission fees.

The French market, home to leading events such as "Paris Photo", is a hub for fine art photography, accounting for 12.5% of the global segment.

Independent chains of experts and auction houses such as Christie's and Sotheby's remain important players in the art photography trade in France.

Regulations on copyright protection and auction house authentication procedures favor the sale of art photographs, with legal scales setting bidding rates for buyers.

Trends and dynamics in demand for fine art photography

This particular sector represents only a small part of the photographic industry. With a predominantly national clientele, professional photographers are faced with a variety of sources of demand, ranging from private individuals to companies and public institutions. French buyers account for around 90% of the clientele, with the remainder made up of an international public more inclined to participate in auctions and photography sales

Almost two-thirds of photography sales are to domestic customers.

Social networks, and Instagram in particular, have increased the visibility and appeal of fine art photography, sparking new interest and nurturing emerging talent, while specialist auctions and galleries continue to play a dominant role in the sector.

In France, art photography has a relatively small audience. Only 14% of the population reported having visited a photography exhibition. The market's growth potential may therefore lie in improving the accessibility and appeal of photography exhibitions to the general public.

From an average auction price of around $5,000 in 1990 to some $10,200 in recent years, the increase in the value of fine art photographs testifies to a growing appreciation of this art form and a willingness to invest in it.

Key players in the French art photography market

Auction houses at the forefront of the artistic conversation

  • Christie's
  • Sotheby's
  • Artcurial
  • Piasa
  • Millon
  • Drouot
  • Tajan
  • Aguttes

Online galleries

  • Artsper: Pioneer of the online art market
  • ArtPhotoLimited: Platform specializing in original and reproduced fine art photography,
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Presentation and definition of the market

Photography, in general, includes several functions, each of which has its own market (the OPI): information, creation, entertainment, etc. Art photography is therefore the creative part of photography and the artistic use of this technique for fixing images with light. According to the Almanart glossary, art photography "the use of photography with artistic intent and approach, as opposed to its common use in reportage or for historical, advertising, or family purposes"
Fine art photography involves a number of different crafts, including:
  • manufacture and sales of cameras,
  • photo lab activities (printing, cutting, assembly, etc.)
  • activities of professional photographic agencies
  • activities related to the art market (galleries, auction houses, etc.)

The world art market is growing, driven in particular by ever more substantial auction sales, as is also the case in France. The art photography market is no exception to this trend. The price indices for art photography are also rising significantly, even if the amount of their sale is marginal compared to the sales prices of other types of works

France occupies an important place on the world market of art photography. Numerous events take place such as the "Paris Photo" event or the World Photography Fair and the Rencontres d'Arles. However, photography exhibitions are less popular than modern or contemporary art exhibitions and this is a real challenge for the market, even if the practice of amateur art photography and the diffusion of art photos are largely stimulated by the social network platform Instagram. Digital and digital technology are indeed disrupting the sector as much as they are creating new opportunities. The growth of online distribution of art photos (original or replicated) and digital art galleries are also proof of this

The COVID-19 crisis had a differentiated effect on the art sector in general. In fact, unlike museums, the various art galleries kept their doors open during the health crisis, which kept activity stable throughout the period.

1.2 The art photography market is growing

In ****, global art and antiques sales were valued at $**.* billion, down **% from the previous year and **% from ****. As mentioned above, art auctions account for about **% of this market, which means that the subjects of this study, art dealers and galleries, account for the remaining **% [***]. The market for art dealers and galleries ...

1.3 The art photography market in France

      France is considered by many to be the cultural capital of the world. It may therefore be surprising that (***) France only holds about *% of the world's art market, in terms of value, making it the fourth largest market in the world [***].     The world's major art markets World, ****-****, in billions of ...

2 Analysis of the demand

2.1 Art photography represents a small share of the demand for photography

Art photography represents a small part of the photography sector. Indeed, in general, the customers of professional photographers are multiple. Their activity is both in BtoC and BtoB. Indeed, the clientele of photographers includes companies wishing to develop their communication, public commissions, press publishers, individuals, illustration agencies or press agencies

Breakdown ...

2.2 The place of art photography in the cultural practices of the French

In France, according to CREDOC e n ****, more than half of those surveyed had neither visited a museum nor explored a temporary exhibition. Occasional visitors, those who visited a museum or exhibition once or twice in a year, accounted for **% of respondents.

Frequency of visits to exhibitions / museums in France France, ...

2.3 The impact of social networks on the development of the art photography market

Instagram has established itself as an essential tool for traditional actors in the art sector (***), as recalled in **** by the Huffington Post

But Instagram also plays a key role in the diffusion of the practice of art photography and in the emergence of new talents (***).

3 Market structure

3.1 The dominance of auction companies in the sector

The art photography market in France has its own structure and players a limited number of collectors and the intervention of art market agencies such as auction companies . Indeed, photography is the subject of expertise and annual auctions in prestigious firms such as Christie's or Sotheby's . The works are stored and ...

3.2 Independent experts are another major sales channel

According to the The Echos one of the major sales channels for works of art photography in France are the independent experts who sell from private agreement in exchange for a commission . The experts take care of to authenticate and photography and find a buyer . Some buyers prefer this method of ...

3.3 Les évolutions macroéconomiques du marché de la photographie

Si la photographie se porte bien et rencontre un succès croissant, les photographes rencontrent de nombreuses difficultés financières depuis plusieurs années. Plusieurs raisons concourent à ces difficultés, parmi lesquelles la principale est l'arrivée du numérique et la profusion d'images.

En effet, l'arrivée du numérique ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 The price of art photographs has been rising steadily since the early 2000s

According to the Art Market Insight , the average price of an auctioned photograph was to **,***€ in **** against ** ***€ for a painting The price index has increased by **% between **** and ****, after reaching a peak in **** for art photography from the same source.

Evolution of the art photography price index between **** and ****

Source: ****

As ...

4.2 The development of actors selling art photos online

From many players are positioning themselves on the sale of original or replicated art photos online such as Artsper which lists and sells art photos from the world's leading art galleries, but also ArtPhotoLimited or KazoArt which is an online contemporary art gallery. However, the function of the Internet is still ...

4.3 La photographie d'art, une offre spécifique parmi d'autres

La description des activités photographiques par l'Insee fournit un aperçu des types d'offres proposées sur le marché. :

la production photographique réalisée à titre commercial ou privé : photographies d'identité, photographies de classe, de mariage, photographies publicitaires, d'édition, de mode, à des fins immobilières ou touristiques, photographie aérienne, ...

4.4 Les photographies d'art les plus chères

Les photographes dont les clichés dépassent de façon régulière le million de dollars aux enchères se comptent sur les doigts la main. Il y a l'Allemand Andreas Gursky, l'Américain Richard Prince et sa compatriote Cindy Sherman, ainsi que le duo britannique Gilbert & George. Ces ...

5 Regulation

5.1 Regulations governing the sale of art photographs

According to the the Union of Professional Photographers , the copyright is a derivative of the literary and artistic property aimed at protecting the author in his creative and distribution process . Since the *st er on July ****, copyright was codified and allowed the art photographer to benefit from it.

Similarly, each auction ...

6 Positioning of the actors

6.1 Segmentation

Major auction companies in France:

Christie's Sotheby's Artcurial Piasa Millon Drouot Tajan Aguttes

Online art photography sales galleries

Artsper ArtPhotoLimited KazoArt Catawaki

  • Christie’s
  • Sotheby’s
  • Piasa
  • Millon & associés
  • Drouot L’Hotel
  • Tajan
  • Aguttes
  • Artsper
  • ArtPhotoLimited
  • KazoArt
  • Catawiki
  • Art Photo Limited (Myposter group)
  • Smart Photo
  • GAD collection
  • La Galerie Rouge
  • Almendra
  • Artphotoby - Sophie Leiser Galerie
  • Galerie Lumière des Roses
  • Galerie Vu'
  • La Galerie de l'Instant
  • Lumas
  • YellowKorner
  • Getty Images

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Ventes mondiales des marchands et des galeries d'art
  • Marché de l'art - Répartition des parts de marché, en valeur
  • Les principaux marchés mondiaux d'art
  • Chiffre d'affaires du marché des concessionnaires et des galeries d'art
  • Évolution du marché de la photographie d'art
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Latest news emancipates itself from the auction house - 18/03/2024

Proceeds auctioned to Internet users in 2023: 344 million euros, representing a 3.5-fold increase in 4 years.

  • Online sales in 2023: - 1,400 auctions.
  • - Number of registered bidders 290,000.
  • - Goods sold : 204,000 lots.

Customer base:

  • - average age of account holders 45.
  • - Share of professional buyers down from 31% to 23%, in favor of private buyers.
  • - 58% of buyers come from France, with strong representation from the USA, UK and Belgium.

Expansion of the platform:

  • - 785 homes for sale by 2023, representing a two-fold increase in 4 years.
  • - One in three sales by a foreign player.
  • - 170 European houses, excluding France and Belgium, conducted 1,800 sales in 2023.
  • - Nearly 60 houses operating outside the European Union, from around ten countries.


  • - Interenchères saw its live and online art sales increase by 5%, totaling 248 million euros.
  • - faces several international competitors, including Lot-Tissimo in Germany and The Saleroom in England.
Getty launches its own artificial intelligence image generator - 26/09/2023
  • Getty Images competes with image generators such as Midjourney and DALL-E.
  • Getty Images relies on generative AI trained on its own image base, not on billions of images extracted from the web like its competitors.
  • Getty's image database does not contain photos of celebrities or brands.
  • Getty Images has around 830,000 customers. Getty promises an AI that masters the legal rules of each country and totally eliminates legal risks.
New YellowKorner galleries. - 27/10/2022
  • Number of galleries worldwide: 150 galleries
  • Presence in nearly 30 countries
  • Two new galleries recently opened: La Réunion (France) and St Germain-en-Laye (Île-de-France)
  • Over 300 artists and their creations presented in limited editions
  • Gallery architect and designer: Gérard Barrau
  • Profile sought for future partners: entrepreneur, manager, commercial and customer focus, passion for sales and art photography
  • Average time to open a YellowKorner gallery: 6 months
Guillaume CANNAT: "Stars" at GADCOLLECTION - 17/06/2022
  • Dates of Guillaume Cannat's exhibition: June 8 to July 21, 2022.
  • Number of photographs in the exhibition: 9.
  • Year of birth of Guillaume Cannat: 1962.
  • Number of years Guillaume Cannat has been observing the sky: 40 years.
  • GADCOLLECTION gallery address: 4 rue du Pont Louis-Philippe.
Guillaume CANNAT: "Stars" at GADCOLLECTION - 17/06/2022
  • Exhibition Guillaume CANNAT "La tête dans les Étoiles" from June 8 to July 21, 2022.
  • 9 photographs presented for the first time at Galerie GADCOLLECTION.
  • Guillaume CANNAT is a French photographer, born in 1962.
Damart inherits YellowKorner - 02/08/2021
  • YellowKorner will have 150 stores worldwide by the end of 2021, two-thirds of them franchises.
  • The Despature family has acquired a majority stake in YellowKorner. - YellowKorner generates sales of around 40 million euros and employs 300 people.
  • The Despature family fortune was estimated at 2.5 billion euros in 2020, putting them in 38th place among French fortunes according to "Challenges".
  • YellowKorner plans to open a further 25 stores in 2021, notably in Northern Europe and China.
  • The company aims to turn its Zeinberg printing laboratory in Krakow into a second major business.
  • YellowKorner aims to increase its digital sales, which currently account for 30% of its turnover, to almost 50% within three to five years.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Millon & associés
Drouot L’Hotel
Art Photo Limited (Myposter group)

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