Discover the latest trends in the art market and the many cultural and artistic initiatives we support. Read all about it in this article.
Museums and institutions
With the severe recent rise in COVID cases globally, number of museums and institutions were forced to close again, such as the brand-new M+ Museum in Hong Kong which had just opened last year. Some even reap the lethal consequence of the pandemic: the Verborgene Museum in Berlin, dedicated to women artists for over 40 years, had to close its doors for good.
The need for future proof strategy battling decreasing visits and funding spurge innovative solutions more than ever. The digitization of collections is one of them. The Rijksmuseum just published the most detailed photograph of an artwork in history, with a 717 gigapixel Rembrandt’s “The night watch” (1642), uncovering hidden sketches and leading to a full restoration.
A review of the collections’ content and deaccessioning measures take place where regulations allow. Private museums in Asia benefit from this advantage, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to successful sales, as shown with the failed attempt from the Kansong Art Museum. In China, museums like the Today Art Museum of Beiing also develop high priced patronage schemes to attract private funding from wealthy individuals and strengthen their governance.
On the bright side, the hopeful end of COVID boosts renovations with numerous openings scheduled in 2022, such as the creation of an NFT museum in Seattle, first of its kind. Closer to us, the reopening of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KSMKA) in Antwerp is scheduled for September this year after a 10-year renovation plan.
After years of association with RMN at the Grand Palais, France’s most renown fair, FIAC, has been ejected from its spot by Art Basel. The striking news has been raising eyebrows, although the recent payment issues from cancelled events and the increasing leverage of MCH group shouldn’t come as a surprise in this hostile slot takeover, only to highlight further the consolidating landscape for artfairs and galleries.
Number of artfairs have been postponed to later this year, converging around fall. The few slots available and risk of overlap might create additional issues in number of visitors, but mainly for supply chain management. Another consequence from COVID that creates severe delays, forcing shows to be postponed as for the cancelled Los Angeles outdoor sculpture show from Frieze.
The overly mediatized Botticelli sale took place, hammering just below estimate at 39,3 million USD (excluding premium). Although the overall sale didn’t disappoint (too much) at 91 million USD, the lower-than-average sell-through-rate for old master’s masterpieces could signal signs of fatigue in the market, gulled up with high valuations.
Other masterworks announced for March, such as Magritte’s “L’empire des Lumières” (1953-1954) hoping to fetch 60 million USD, five Monet’s painting to reach 50 million USD, and recently restituted Franz Marc for 47 million USD will further precise the market’s remaining appetite after last year’s record sales figures.
The eye on Asia remains with a positive outlook for 2022. Sotheby’s announced the split of its London March Marquee evening sale to be hosted simultaneously between London and Shanghai. This strategic focus is underlined with the recent appointment of the former APAC Farfetch Vice President at the head of the auction house in China.
The hot topic of 2021 follows us into the new year ahead. Museums dedicated to NFTs, galleries opening their own metaverse, auction houses curating NFT sales and traditional artists invade the virtual space. Even the biggest estates intend to dip their toes in the digital Eldorado: heirs of the Picasso estate announced the sale of a ceramic and its NFT. However, disagreement within the family has postponed the event.
Although the NFT market is catching up quickly with its physical pair, with over 40 billion USD poured in the Ethereum blockchain in 2021, the rise in market manipulation, counterfeits and hacking calls for a regulatory framework. Recent events triggered a first response from Opensea, the biggest NFT marketplace. A threshold in terms of NFTs offered by creators has been implemented, only to be cancelled facing community’s outrage.
Current and upcoming events
Degroof Petercam supports numerous cultural and artistic initiatives.
Sol Lewitt. Wall drawings, Works on paper, Structures Until May 1, 2022