Polish art market is breaking records despite global drop in art turnover

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

According to the latest report by international art fair organizer Art Basel, the value of the global art market dropped by 22 percent in 2020. The world’s three largest art markets – the United States, the United Kingdom, and China – felt this decrease the most, as they have an 82 percent share in the world’s art sales.

In the same period, according to portal Artinfo.pl, the Polish art market grew by 29 percent. Its true boom, however, is taking place in 2021.

In the first quarter of 2021, the turnover in the Polish art market grew by 72.5 percent year to year. This means that the market’s value tripled in the last four years. While this record seemed unbeatable, the first half of 2021 ended with a similar result to the same period in 2020 and with a turnover worth more than in all of 2018.

There was not a month or even week during which price records were not beaten. There had been several art auctions a day and 294 of them in total. Compared to the first half of 2021, this number has grown by almost 48 percent. The price of the works of all artists imaginable grew in this period: old, modern, and the very newest art.

Julian Fałat’s “Off to the hunt” painting from 1898 was sold in January 2020 for 2.34 mln PLN (EUR 530,000), source: Desa-Unicum.

The painting which sold for the most was Jacek Malczewski’s “Pożegnanie z pracownią. Prządka”. The piece was sold for EUR 1.46 million. Next came Jan Matejko’s “Saint Stanislaus scolding Boleslaw the Bold” for 1.22 million.

The pace of development of the Polish art market is especially clear in the number of sold pieces. In 2020, 9000 artworks were sold, and in the first half of 2021, the number was 15000.

Poland’s largest auction houses are continuing to increase their turnovers. Desa Unicum, for example, surpassed EUR 21 million in turnover for the first time in history. Despite the turnover being lower by 58 percent in 2020, it was still record-breaking. Meanwhile, the turnover in the Sopot Auction House grew by 172 percent.

Title image: A historic painting by one of Poland’s most important cultural icons, Jan Matejko “Saint Stanislaus scolding Bolesław the Bold” (1877), sold at auction for a PLN 5.5 million after the auction house fee, source: press stock.

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