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Mon 04 October 2021:

According to Artprice’s annual report released on Monday, contemporary art auctions rebounded to an all-time high of $2.7 billion last year, bolstered by internet sales and the emergence of digital art in the form of “NFTs.”

Sales increased between June 2020 and June 2021, after falling by a third the previous year due to the pandemic’s initial crisis, as auctioneers swiftly adopted a more online approach.

“Photography and prints have been particularly successful in this new online environment and in 2021, we have seen the sensational arrival of completely dematerialised artworks, the famous NFTs,” said Artprice CEO Thierry Ehrmann in a foreword to the report.

People can acquire the rights to online art, like as photos, animation, or even tweets, using NFTs, or “non-fungible tokens.”

Beeple, a US artist, sold an NFT of his digital artwork “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” to an Indian blockchain entrepreneur for $69.3 million in March, the third-highest price ever paid by a living artist.

Christie’s said 22 million people, nearly 60 percent under the age of 40, logged in to the sale, the first public auction of an NFT.

NFTs made about a third of all online sales and 2% of the total art market.

Street artist Banksy got in on the game shortly after, selling an NFT of his work “Morons”, which featured an auctioneer selling a painting with the inscription: “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit”.

It sold for around $380,000.

But Artprice said another key driver of growth was the emergence of the Asian market, with Hong Kong establishing itself as the contemporary art world’s second city after New York.

China actually beat the United States for auction turnover, taking 40 percent of sales to America’s 32 percent.

Britain was in third place with 16 percent.

“In effect, Hong Kong is now playing an accelerator role for the most prominent young Western artists and it is establishing itself as New York’s primary competitor,” said Ehrmann.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died in 1988 but sold $93.1 million in the previous year, is still the best-selling contemporary artist.

Due to his historic NFT sale, Beeple comes in second.

The third place finisher, 68-year-old Chinese artist Chen Danqing, who has lived in the United States since the 1980s, was spurred by a $25.2 million sale of his oil painting “Shepherds” in Beijing in June, a record for Chinese art.

The most popular artist in terms of volume is 3D artist Kaws, who has been collected by pop artists such as Justin Bieber and Pharrell Williams.

PHOTO: An original by world famous street artist Banksy was lit on fire during a livestream — and promptly sold for $380,000 worth of Ethereum as a non-fungible token (NFT).





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