What to look forward to in the art market in 2021

Let’s look back before we look forward. The good news after a long year of disruption is that the art market is not dead; and some might say, it has proven to be far more resilient than expected. The quick change to online content production and more importantly its successful and widespread take-up might not meet our desire to experience objects in the flesh, but it has helped artists, galleries, auction houses and collectors to still engage with one of their passions and often livelihoods.

The year ahead looks uncertain, but silver linings are showing on the horizon. Artists are producing works and while exhibitions might be only happening online there is still art out there waiting to be snapped up. Fellow German Londoner Lothar Goetz’s solo exhibition ‘Salvation’ at Domobaal for example comes to life through excellent installation shots. And for anyone wanting to dive into a visual homage to German political philosopher Hannah Arendt, needn’t click further than Richard Saltoun Gallery, with additional talks and video content.

Those who feel the need to have physical events to look forward to might want to pencil in this year’s Art Dubai, currently scheduled to run with 86 galleries from 31 countries from 17 to 20 March 2021. Combining sunshine with new artist led projects and installations in places across the city, sounds indeed like something to dream about. Taking people at least virtually to similarly hot places will be the next edition of the African Contemporary Art Fair 1-54, which is extending its partnership with Christie’s to set up for the first time in Paris. The fair will exhibit 18 galleries at the auction house’s Paris's headquarters at Avenue Matignon (20-23 January 2021). Christie’s is also hosting 1-54 on its website, allowing the fair access to its 300,000 subscribers. Art Basel Hong Kong has announced an optimistic opening date for the fair in May 2021 and with the situation in Asia under more control than in the rest of the world, it might actually go ahead. Most certainly it will not be the global event we got used to but much more a marker for the Asian market which has seen increased growth in 2020.

Sustained Asian interest has also been a major driver for the auction houses ongoing activity especially in regard to both blue-chip and new art, with numerous world records broken. The auction houses have also for some years had ever more success with Surrealist art. Christie’s already announced that it can offer three major works by Max Ernst, René Magritte and Joan Miró for up to 32 Million Pounds in its dedicated sale in March in London. That surrealist art is not only having a commercial comeback is further reiterated by large scale institutional exhibitions such as the solo exhibition of Giorgio de Chirico’s at the Kunsthalle Hamburg under the title “de Chirico – Magical reality” scheduled to open 22 January (until 25 April). The exhibition is supported by Generali Deutschland as main sponsor. Together with a show on “Magritte/Renoir: Surrealism in full sunlight” at the Orangerie in Paris (10 February to 21 June 20201) and a solo exhibition of the female artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp at Tate Modern (15 July to 17 October 2021), there is much to look forward to. The beauty of the auction world is that is has proven to be on one hand so successfully adaptable to online models but moreover that this has benefitted not only the large auction houses but also the more regional auction houses across Europe.

Written by our ARTE Generali author Stephanie Dieckvoss, London

  1. Image credit: Solaroca by Opavivara, Art Dubai Commissions 2019. Courtesy Photo Solutions  

    Image credit: Solaroca by Opavivara, Art Dubai Commissions 2019. Courtesy Photo Solutions