The Top 3 Artists on the Contemporary Print Market

H9-7 Loyalty by Damien HirstH9-7 Loyalty ⓒ Damien Hirst 2021
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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Market figures from the first half of 2022 have revealed the three titans of the contemporary print market: Banksy, David Hockney and Damien Hirst.

Read our latest 2023 Print Market Report here.

What are the key data highlights? By how much have these markets expanded in recent years? Who comes out top? Take a deep dive into these artist markets here:

Banksy

Banksy maintains his seat as the most profitable artist on the contemporary print market, with Banksy print sales in 2021 totalling £39.2 million, and £12.8 million in the first half of 2022. So far in 2022 Banksy print sales have accounted for over 60% of this segment of the market in total value, securing his status as the leading artist in this category.

The average price paid for a Banksy print was £60,916, based on total sales through auction in the Q2 of 2022 - the highest average price paid for a print at the top end of the blue-chip contemporary print market.* In Q1 of 2022, this figure was even higher, at £72,741.

The total return for a Banksy print over a five year period (mid-2017 to mid-2022) also remains the highest on the market at 341.3%.

Read our most recent insights on the Banksy Market 2017-2022 here.

Total Value of Sales + Total Lots Sold in First Half of 2022Total Value of Sales + Total Lots Sold in First Half of 2022

David Hockney

David Hockney is the second most profitable artist on the contemporary print art market. In 2022, Hockney’s top sale reached £504,000 at auction, for one of his iconic iPad drawings, The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate East Yorkshire, 4th May 2022 (2011). This was also the top performing print on the contemporary print market overall.

The average price paid at auction for a Hockney print in Q2 of 2022 was £27,831, a rise of 135.6% in the last five years (since Q2 2017). The average price paid for a Hockney print is continuing to steadily rise and the longevity of this market is clear.

The Hockney print market has expanded rapidly over the last five and a half years, its total value of annual sales increasing by 762.2% between 2016 and 2021, reaching a total of £7.3 million in 2021, and totalling £3.8 million in the first half of 2022. The average price paid for a Hockney print has increased by 211.5% in that same 5 year period, up a further 26.6% from 2021 so far in 2022.

In the five year period mid-2017 to mid-2022, Hockney prints have had a very high total return of 131.8%.

Read our most recent insights on the David Hockney Market 2017-2022 here.

Damien Hirst

Alongside Hockney, the Damien Hirst print market is one of the largest and most stable, with print sales totalling £2.4 million in the first half of 2022. Between 2016 and 2021, total annual sales increased by 135.4% amounting to £3.7 million in 2021.

Hirst prints continue to increase in value, with return rates on his prints in the last five years being 57.6%. There is no doubt that Hirst has firmly established himself in the secondary market, and his prints offer a consistent middle ground for collectors, where the average price paid for a Hirst print was £11,254 in the first half of 2022.

Read our most recent insights on the Damien Hirst Market 2017-2022 here.

Contemporary Artist Price Indexes Over 5 Year Period (end of Q2 2017 - end of Q2 2022)Contemporary Artist Price Indexes Over 5 Year Period (end of Q2 2017 - end of Q2 2022)

Conclusions

Banksy is not only the most popular artist in this segment of the market, but the returns on his prints over a five-year period outperform Hirst and Hockney. While the Banksy print market is not as established as the wider long-term markets of Hockney and Hirst, the Banksy print market is quickly beginning to prove itself as a serious space for long-term investors.

When looking for a high-value, high-reward investment opportunity, Hockney, Hirst and Banksy are by far the leaders in this segment of the print market.

Download our complete 2023 Print Market Report here, to explore expert opinions on the prints and multiples market over the last five years.

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