Seven years ago, in the 2000/01 auction season, the Canadian art market grossed $21.8 million according to sales recorded in the Canadian Art Sales Index. On May 23rd in Vancouver a single session of Canadian art totaled $22.9 million. To say that the market has grown over the past seven years is definitely an understatement. With the historic events of May 23rd a whole new chapter in the history of the Canadian art market was written, and a whole new price plateau for quality Canadian paintings established.
Clearly such an outstanding auction must bode well for the Sotheby’s and Joyner sales scheduled for next week – unless, of course, all the funds have already been spent out on the west coast. With the prospect of an additional $15/20 million next week we could well see an overall spring season not only topping the $40 million mark, but perhaps even testing last years combined season total of $50 million. And, coupled with a fall 2006 season that grossed around $25/26 million we can certainly start celebrating the 11th consecutive annual gain in total sales for the Canadian art market. The prospect of a combined fall and spring season for 2006/07 of around $70 million is positively mouth-watering.
However, before we become too euphoric, we should not forget that just one Andy Warhol painting sold recently in New York for over $72 million U.S.!