Most of the people love art. Thus, it is a way where you can express what you feel, believe, and think. Moreover, some people use art for business, that’s why the art auction business was developed.

Early stages: Primary markets in Bruges, Florence, and Antwerp

Florence, Italy is considered as the center of new paintings that is associated with the Renaissance. Many sculptors, painters, and artists make the city as the perfect place for the art market. Some paintings in Florence were ordered with the commission already. The artworks are proposed for public buildings, churches, guilds, and wealthy private houses.

Bruges, Belgium became the main commercial city in the 15th century in Northern Europe. Many artisans and merchants made the city a place to sell their different products. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the painters participated in renting stalls for a special gallery exhibition known as the “pand” that is intended to display luxury merchandises and products.

The Bruges has three different guilds of artists, namely the watercolor painters, the oil painters, and the miniaturists. These groups competed for market share and engaged in competition according to the type and price of the products. The sales were focused in the pands and big marketplaces.

With this, the pand system lately improved in Antwerp. It was the next milestone of the art market journey. Antwerp profited from the political and natural forces that caused the weakening of Bruges in the 15th century.

The city also benefited from the monopoly of the Portuguese on the import of spices, exponential demographic explosion, and great communications with European cities. These factors made the Antwerp as the crucial commercial center in the Renaissance trade. The city begins to decline in the late 16th century, but its influence on the evolution of the art market is still of crucial importance.

Also Read: What you Need to Know about Online Art Auctions

Art Auctions in 16th and 17th centuries in Paris and Amsterdam

Secondary art markets in Europe were sought in the corporation of several secondhand dealers. The dealers traded goods like clothes and paintings. The Orphan Chamber in Amsterdam is the place where the Dutch conduct their art auction business. The primary goal of the auctions was to get money to help the orphans of the deceased.

Another auction house was the Bankruptcy Chamber which aims to profit money to pay off creditors.
The auctions were the best way to dispose of the goods faster. Unfortunately, due to Amsterdam’s commercial fertility, foreign merchants begin to import low-quality artworks and resell it through illegal auctions. It is the reason why the value of the whole market started to decrease.

Meanwhile, the development of the art market regulation continues in London until the 17th century. During this time, the printed auction rules were distributed before the sales. During the early 18th century, a global international art market was developed.

18th Century
In the 18th century, the art auction business was divided into two segments namely the primary and secondary market. The primary market includes direct sale and production. On the other hand, the secondary market involves collection and resale.

The primary market’s development was connected to the growth of artistic strategies and trends, while the secondary market grew in the winding alleys of merchant cities in the Renaissance and discovered the need for a new type of specialist trader, the art dealer.

The 1870s
During the 1870s, there is a high demand for art pieces. The creation of artists was sold at high costs, but it was weakened in the early twentieth century. One of the most in-demand art masterpieces is female portraits. It was still in demand both in the late half of the nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth century.

The 1980s
The art auction business gained its popularity way back in the 1980s. With the economy’s situation, art trends dominate the market. During the early period, there are major houses that offer art auctions to the public and that improved their number of clients.
With that, art auction started to grow in the different parts of the world. Several dealers, collectors, executives, and socialites have placed their bid to buy several artworks. It is the reason why the auctions’ price began to increase.

The 1990s
In the meantime, unlike in the 1980s, the art auction market began to collapse in the early 1990s. In the late eighteenth century, the quality of the art costs is low. At the end of the eighteenth century, huge numbers of art pieces and photos were imported. In the end part of the nineteenth century, a new kind of collectors began to arise. Most of these collectors were men who made big fortunes in the north of Midlands and England. They bought oil pictures as well as watercolor drawings at high costs from art exhibitions or direct from the easel. Meanwhile, the watercolor drawings are very popular and well-appreciated in the 1870s.

The Modern Art Market: From the Impressionists to 2000s
Paris serves as the nerve center of the art auction market in the next 150 years after 1750. In the 19th century, the Paris Salon, an art exhibition of the Academie des Beaux-Arts was sponsored by the government of France. It monopolized the assessment of art production and promotion in Paris. The exhibition is conducted yearly and displays the best academic art for the recognition of the artists. At that time, impressionists were recognized. These are painter and artists who impersonate popular people.

It is believed that the noteworthy amount of the most expensive paintings of all time was sold during or after 2010. It was sold around $100 million. Furthermore, the price of an art masterpiece varies based on the origin of the piece, the artist’s reputation, the age of the artwork as well as the span of time since the artwork was last auctioned.

Best Art Dealers in the 20th Century: Duveen and Durand –Ruel

Durand-Ruel has a modest art gallery in Paris which he inherited from his parents. Through this business, he promotes and displays the work of impressionists. In 1870, France was at war with Prussia. Durand-Ruel fled to London and opened a branch of his business.

Here, he met Pissaro and Monet who attract his attention to buy their paintings. In his memoir he wrote, “Soon after our meeting, I began slipping a few paintings by these two artists into exhibitions, which I organized in London.” When the war has ended, he came back to Paris and started to promote the masterpieces of other Impressionists. The art dealer has a personal connection with his artists.

Additionally, Durand-Ruel was also a good advertiser. He begins to publish a modern art journal that aims to awaken the awareness and acceptance of the people towards his team of young artists. His innovation was to export the impressionist movement outside Europe. With this, impressionism also began in North America.

Sir Joseph Duveen, the 1st Baron Duveen. Sir Joseph is a prominent art dealer in the Duveen Brothers Company based in London. The firm had branches in Paris and New York. He was the first ever art dealer that exploit the North American art market. He stated that Europe is a place for an excellent deal of art, while America is a place for a great deal of money.

Duveen made a big fortune in the first half of the 20th century. It is through buying Old Masters art from aristocrats in Europe. He sells it to American billionaires. It is why he became one of the most influential and richest art dealers in history. He was a talented salesman who utilizes various techniques in the art dealing industry. Among his clients were William Hearst, J.P. Morgan, and John Rockfeller.

The collection of Duveen from his art auction business made the opening of America’s most significant art museums. He also made remarkable donations for British museums, which made him fundamental to the growth and success of the art museum system.

The Development of Auction Houses: Sotheby’s Insight
Art auctions are now the most effective way in selling art. Moreover, auction houses are now the main place of art deals all over the world. They connect art sellers to rich buyers and earn a commission charged on the final auction price.
The English action technique is known as the open ascending price auction. The bid starts from a reserve price and starts from low to high. The most successful auction houses were the Christies and Sotheby’s in London which was developed in the 18th century.

Sotheby is the world’s number 4 oldest and largest auction houses. It is considered as the worldwide leader when it comes to the art auction market. The Sotheby is founded in 1744 in London by Samuel Baker which is proposed for rare books. After its successful rare book market in two centuries, it begins to improve for latest business openings. In 1940, it decided to deal with different kinds of art like jewelry, paintings, and other collectibles.

Sotheby expanded its market in 1955 by opening a branch in New York and conduct its American operations. In few years, it generates the sale of the Goldschmidt collection. It sold seven paintings for £781,000, which is the highest price in the history of fine art auction market.

In the later years, Sotheby continues to expand internationally. It opens branches in Hong Kong, China, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Russia. In fact, it is the first foreign auction house in the French and Chinese markets.

The Present Global Art Auction Market
In 2015, the art market attained the highest level, with €51 billion having a rate of 7% each year. The USA is the leader in the industry having a market share of 39%. The second is the United Kingdom and China which both at 22%.

Also Read: Evolution of Art Auction Business

The More Innovative Online Art Market
The Internet continues to dominate the world. It is now part of the lifestyle of the people especially the youth. Well, the art auction market already goes online. With this, it is easy for buyers to collect their favorite artworks. They can also have a variety of choices that they can see on their mobile devices.

Things to Remember In Art Auction Business
When you are about to buy a piece in an art auction, you must know the things to consider to avoid disappointments in the end. In addition to that, you can make sure that the money that you have invested for it will never be wasted. To do this, you can go to pre-sale exhibitions of a particular auction. You can also check their catalogs to get the information that you need. If you are interested in collecting an artwork, you need to research about it to know if it is worth buying.

Always remember that the art pieces in the catalogue may appear similar to its actual look. However, you must check if it is in the best condition to avoid wasting your money and time to it. To make sure that it is still in its best shape, you can ask about the work’s value from the staff of the auction house.

Making a comparison of the artworks and the artists can also help to get the best quality of the art piece. The artist’s place has a great impact on the value of the art collections. Usually, there is a registration for the art auction. You can bid through the phone, online, as well as in person. It is necessary for you to monitor the policies and protocols in the auction house. The auctioneer will present each art piece and start the bidding at lower prices.

When their clients start bidding, they will automatically raise the cost. You can bid as much as you can pay for the artwork. If the price goes above the amount that you have expected, you can stop bidding. The auctioneer will continue to accept bids and raise the price until only one bidder is left. That person is the one that will get the particular item. If you win the bid, the auctioneer will provide you the information about the payment and auctioned item’s transportation or delivery.

Read More: Ryan Van Wagenen

Author's Bio: 

Ryan Van Wagenen Princeton, is an artist, Uncle, and small business owner currently living in Princeton, New Jersey. Interests range from technology to arts. He is also interested in design, education, and innovation. You can find more about author here: