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Top Auction Houses of 2016: Asia & the Pacific

(Saffronart, Osians, Leon Gallery, Menzie's)

Although the art market remained robust this past year, there has been a marked shift in the global landscape. According to the 2016 Art Market Report, produced by Dublin-based economist Clare McAndrew and released under the aegis of the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF), there was a 7 percent decline in sales worldwide, from $68.2 billion in 2014 to $63.8 billion in 2015, with much of that decline coming as a result of a contraction in the Chinese economy. Despite the drop, sales in the United States rose 4 percent, to a record $27.3 billion, confirming the nation’s primacy as the global market leader, with a 43 percent share of the market. Sales held steady in the United Kingdom, landing it in second place at 21 percent; this may change, however, as the market responds to the contentious Brexit vote this past June. China came in third at 19 percent, with sales in the Asian nation dropping some 23 percent, from $15.4 billion in 2014 to $11.8 billion last year.

Overall, sales at auction accounted for 47 percent of the 2015 art market total, with the remainder coming from private sales by dealers and other agents. Postwar and contemporary works commanding more than $1 million continued to dominate, though they represented less than 1 percent of lots sold. The $1 million–plus segment of the market grew a staggering 400 percent, while the market for works selling for $10 million or more saw growth of more than 1,000 percent.

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