The demand for Post War and Contemporary art continues to dominate the fine art auction market. As a result, it has accounted for the largest sector in sales value for the past three consecutive years. Within this umbrella sector, Urban Art is arguably one of the most vibrant and intriguing sales categories, recently hyped by the ongoing Beyond The Streets exhibit at Saatchi Gallery, underscoring the global impact and growing influence of graffiti and street art.
We are closely observing the investment potential of Urban Art's most influential icon: Banksy. Banksy stands apart from other artists, possessing a unique status owing to his adept management of his art market's trajectory through meticulously crafted prints of stenciled imagery. Since entering the captivating realm of the secondary art market, Banksy's art and his celebrity status have remained potent and unyielding, urging viewers to confront socio-political issues often ignored.
At MyArtBroker, we meticulously analyse Banksy's Q1 2023 prints and multiples performance, delving into market peaks and troughs over the past five years to gain insights into what lies ahead for the art market in 2023. Leveraging data from our unparalleled and tailored insights technology, MyPortfolio, which tracks over 48,000 auction histories, we offer real-time insights into the demand for prints and multiples, providing a comprehensive view of Banksy's market dynamics.
The Banksy print market experienced significant peaks in 2020 and 2021, marked by a remarkable surge in the annual growth rate (AGR) of total sales turnover (excluding fees) and transaction volume. The AGR of total sales showed a consistent rise from 2017 to 2021, with the most significant spikes observed in 2019 and 2020, escalating by 106% and then 250% respectively. Concurrently, the total sales volume also saw substantial increases of 60% and 28% during these consecutive years. These upswings in 2019 and 2020 led to a substantial rise in the ASP to £52,906 in 2020, marking a staggering 176% increase from the previous year. These specific areas of growth within Banksy's trajectory over the last five years serve as pivotal indicators, representing the artist's robust expansion and vitality within the secondary market.
The collective hardships endured during the pandemic coincided with Banksy's market surge for the same annual period. Lockdown measures, necessitating stay-at-home policies, prompted a shift in the art market toward online and digital sales platforms. This shift ultimately proved advantageous for artists' markets, including Banksy's, as it expanded auction house exclusivity to a broader global audience and collectors. This surge in Banksy's demand can be traced back to the widely publiciSed Sotheby's Contemporary evening sale of 2018, featuring Banksy's 'self-destructing' artwork Girl With Balloon, which sold for over £1 million, sparking heightened interest and frenzy in his market.
MyArtBroker extensively covered this period of Banksy's work in our Ultimate Print Market Report. Download a free copy today.
Phillips' London evening sale sold Banksy’s Home Sweet Home (2006) for £1.7 million (price realised). Although the work is not included within our prints and multiples sales category, the modified oil on canvas opens a dialogue about environmental affairs and how it coincides with imagination and reality.
Christie’s London Online Contemporary Edition sale offered various editioned prints from several of Banksy’s most important series, commenting on relevant themes today, including climate change and consumerism. Nola (Yellow Rain) was the highest performing Banksy work realising £151,200 (price realised), sitting squarely within its preset estimates of £120,000-180,000. Christ With Shopping followed in performance, realising £94,500, 18% above its £80,000 low estimate. In November of 2022, ArtNet reported that Banksy took to Instagram, encouraging his guests to steal from a Guess clothing store as a London branch allegedly used several of his images without the artist’s consent. It seems too coincidental that Christ With Shopping, the second highest-selling work in Christie’s sales, critiques ideas of consumerism and consumption.
Lastly, Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary Day auction sold Flower Thrower Triptych (Grey) for £152,400 (price realised), which is 27% against a low estimate of £120,000. These works are highly sought after and rare. Only three triptychs from Banksy’s Thrower series have surfaced within the last five years (in 2022), bringing in approximately $719,602 (price realised).
See Banksy’s sales performance broken down by series below, concluding MyArtBroker and auction sales, 2018 - Q1 2023. To find out more about Banksy’s most investable prints read our article.
Following the fanfare and substantial market figures, Banksy’s 2022 market has demonstrated a decrease in total sales figures. This evident decline suggests an interplay of complex economic market conditions, which can be credited to an oversaturated art market due to Banksy prints being bought and sold excessively throughout 2020-2021 or rising inflation rates in 2022 affecting overall art market conditions. Despite these economic analyses, Banksy’s market is unique. Banksy has resisted primary market gallery representation throughout his career, meaning that his entire market circulates on the secondary market via trades and sales. This approach has the agency to counter cooling effects and further demonstrates the phenomenal demand for his work among collectors and art enthusiasts.
Q1 2023 shows Banksy's turnover for both signed and unsigned prints and multiples reached a total of £2.7 million (excluding fees), encompassing 74 transactions. This figure represents a 3% decrease compared to the average Q1 results observed over the past five years. However, if Banksy's market maintains its current momentum with a quarterly sales volume increase of approximately 25%, and continues to sell at the Q1 2023 ASP of £36,493, we could anticipate a projected annual turnover of £15.5 million by the end of Q4. This projection indicates a positive shift from the previous year in 2022, marking the beginning of an upward trajectory.
According to MyArtBroker data, Banksy prints and editions from different series have shown an average return rate of 47%. With the growing interest in art lending services and the need to unlock capital from current art collections, it's an opportune moment to reconsider investment choices. We'll be closely monitoring the sales volume and revenue of Banksy prints and editions in 2023 to observe if they will exceed previous years.
Recently, Banksy has continued to make appearances in various news headlines as two recent murals have surfaced in England - Valentine’s Day Mascara in Margate and the image of a young boy and his cat stencilled and sprayed upon a bricked-up property of an old farm in Kent. Unfortunately, this work was short-lived as planned demolition destroyed its existence, probing the question, did Banksy intend its “stunt”?
Read about Banksy’s murals and public stunts in our recent article Banksy: Violence vs. Innocence.
Finally, MyArtBroker caught a rare Instagram story of an open mic night in Margate on Banksy’s account! MyArtBroker is watching these occasional appearances of the urban legend closely, anticipating his 2023 market moves.
My ArtBroker has exclusive access to Banksy’s comprehensive prints and edition series. Read more about investing in the Urban & Contemporary Print Market in our 2023: 5 Year Review.
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