The auction of art is an extremely popular medium for art collectors. Unlike online auctions, where buyers are forced to make a fast decision, an auction allows buyers to make informed decisions before purchasing. Every auction house publishes a catalog of the works they are selling, with images and information about artists, exhibitions, and works of art. While this information can be useful in evaluating art, it’s important to remember that the auction process is a complex one, and it is best to seek advice from an expert.
When it comes to selecting a piece of artwork to sell at an auction, the best time is when the artist’s career is at an advanced stage. For instance, an artist should consider placing their works up for sale before a museum show or after publicity from a major commission. In some cases, artists may place artwork up for auction to raise cash for an exhibition.
As the art market becomes more global and accessible, the auction of art has become increasingly popular. Art transactions total 60-70 billion dollars annually. Most of these transactions take place in galleries, art fairs, and advisory services, but roughly 20% of all art sales are made at auctions. These auctions are public affairs, where anyone can view the art pieces for sale. Prices are determined by the number of people interested in purchasing a particular work.
Art auctions have been in existence since the 17th century. John Evelyn describes Lord Melfort’s 1693 “great auction of pictures”. The auctions became an industry, generating billions of dollars and allowing the general public to purchase their favorite pieces. Generally, an auction is scheduled months in advance. A line-up of works is set and expert art consultants set the appropriate price for each item.