Kamecki estimates that the Polish art market is worth 252 million PLN. This is an increase of 17.6 percent on 2017, “a very encouraging sign for the future”.
The boom is reflected in records being broken. First of all, the record turnover of 252 million PLN (it’s worth recalling that at the start of the noughties turnover was between 60 and 80 million PLN). 302 auctions were held in 2018 with nearly 15,000 objects sold, whereas normally there had been 100-140 such events. For the first time individual auctions exceeded 20 million PLN in value and one auction house managed a turnover of 100 million PLN.
Polish artists for the first time are able to attract higher prices in Warsaw than in New York and London
2018 was also unusual in that the most valuable transactions that took place concerned modern art. The most valuable transaction was of a work by Wojciech Fangor which sold for 4.72 million PLN. Second came a combination of five Fangor pieces which fetched almost 7 million PLN when sold together.
Rafał Kamecki believes that this trend towards modern art is a result of collectors feeling that there are more buyers on the market willing to spend more on modern items than traditional art.
While the market is developing it is important to remember that the turnover of single western auction houses such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s is bigger than the whole of the Polish market. But what is important is that Polish artists for the first time are able to attract higher prices in Warsaw than in New York and London. This means that in future western buyers may attend Polish auctions which would significantly boost sale prices.