The most buoyant art movements of 2005



Artprice has established a ranking of art movements based on price progressions in 2005.

Propelled by a major exhibition since 5 October at the Pompidou Centre, Dada takes the lead with a 137% rise in its price index since the beginning of the year.
However, the Dadism movement lasted only eight years from 1916 to 1924 and supply remains very limited. Not a single work by Duchamp, Sophie TAEUBER-ARP or Hans ARP produced during this short period appeared at auction in 2005.

But when Dada works do reach the auction rooms, they usually fetch higher prices than the estimations. For example, on 2 November L’Amour Objectif, a small watercolour by Max ERNST estimated at USD 60,000-80,000 went under the hammer for USD 150,000 at Christie’s New York. A watercolour by Marcel DUCHAMP entitled L’Andalouse à la mantilla fetched EUR 35,000 on 5 December at Calmels-Cohen, i.e EUR 10,000 more than its highest estimations, and a rayography produced by Man Ray in 1923 from the Claude Berri collection exceeded its EUR 150,000-250,000 estimate when it sold for EUR 300,000 at Christie’s Paris.
The Dada exhibition will be showing in the United States in 2006, first in Washington (19 February to 14 May) and then in New York (16 May to 11 September) and may well continue to sustain this rising price trend.

Behind Dada, in the number 2 and 3 positions are two Italian movements, Futurism and Arte Povera.
An Italian law of 1939 banned the export of artworks more than 50 years old. Today 80% of transactions for Futurism works take place on the Italian peninsular. Underpinned by strong national demand, this movement recorded a strong price progression of 93% in 2005. Very few major paintings produced by the founders of the Futurism movement (e.g. Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini, Umberto Boccioni and Carlo Carra) between 1909 and 1916 left Italian territory before the law came into force. That said, a few collections did have time to sell abroad. For example, Lydia Winston Malbin’s collection sold at Sotheby’s New-York on 16 May 1990. The highlight of that sale was a work by Giacomo BALLA entitled La scala degli addii (salutando) (c.1908) which sold for an impressive USD 4 million, the highest price paid so far for an Italian Futurist painting.
Founded in Italy in 1967, Arte Povera for a long time escaped the market’s rationale. Refusing to consider artworks as products, these artists often created ephemeral works and used simple materials such as earth, vegetable substances, fabrics, etc. Today, the market has integrated their work. Arte Povera was in the spotlight in France at Sotheby’s sale of the Durand-Dessert collection on 6 October. Around thirty pieces in the collection were snapped up, generating four records: Luciano Fabro (EUR 350,000), Giovanni Anselmo (EUR 320,000), Giuseppe Penone (EUR 170,000) and Salvatore Scarpitta (EUR 155,000). The record in this segment has been held since October 2003 by Pino PASCALI for a monumental sculpture entitled Cannone Semovente (1965) that sold for GBP 1.4 million (EUR 2 million) at Christie’s London. Alighiero Boetti has just broken another record with his work Cubo which sold for GBP 380,000 at Christie’s. This sale was the climax of a price rise of 685% since 1997!

The economic boom in China has had a direct impact on the art market: Both the Chinese Avant-garde and Chinese Old Masters segments recorded price increases of almost 80% in 2005. As major fortunes are accumulating in China, a new generation of collectors is emerging intent on buying up works by home-grown artists. Even ZAO Wou-Ki who has very close links with the Paris market and sells 48% of his works in France has seen his index appreciate by 60% this year.