2022 State of the African Art Market

Voice of the Collector

March 15, 2022 By: Adenike Cosgrove

Today we announce the launch of the ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA State of the African Art Market report, an annual assessment of the profiles, budgets, tastes, and desires of classic, modern and contemporary African art collectors.

This fifth edition of the report presents the results of a survey of 253 collectors from 28 countries. The online survey — which ran from 12 December 2021 – 16 January 2022 — was completed by subscribers of the ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA email newsletter and the subsequent report remains the only one of its kind to assess who today’s collectors of African art are, what they are buying, and how they think the market will evolve over the next few years.

With a record number of contemporary African art collector responses, this year’s report includes two additional supplements on the classic African art market and on the modern and contemporary African art markets. The report also includes expert commentary by Hannah O’Leary, director and head of Modern and Contemporary African Art at Sotheby’s auction house.

Sneak peek: key findings

  • While perception might be that the pandemic has created a new generation of collectors — essentially because buyers are increasingly discovering art online — the reality is that the overall African art collector base remains homogenous.
  • The majority of collectors spend between $10,000 – $49,999 on classic and contemporary African art.
  • Collectors expect the greatest increase in contemporary art budgets on record.
  • Collectors from Africa represent a significant proportion of modern and contemporary collector bases — less so for classic art.
  • Despite concerns about the increased number of speculators in the contemporary art space, 31% of collectors revealed that they buy art directly from artists, side-stepping galleries.
  • Only 36% of collectors agree that objects with dubious provenances should be returned to their countries of origin with 42% of collectors believing that restituted artworks will find their way back to the market.
  • Just over half of collectors surveyed believe that top-quality classic art is increasingly becoming available in the public market. In addition, 83% of respondents believe that a lot of art will come to the market over the next five to ten years.
  • Where dealers were once the preferred channel for purchasing art, collectors of classic African art now overwhelmingly favour online channels with online auctions leading the pack.
  • ‘Private transactions between collectors’ was the only channel to see a decline over the last five years.

How much do you spend per annum on classic African art? N=190

A year like no other: download the free report

There’s no question that the last couple of years have been quite unlike any other. ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA’s fifth annual State of the African Art Market report explores how the pandemic, the shift to online channels, and the restitution debate have affected collector buying decisions.

Download the 2022 report for full access to access to classic, modern and contemporary findings, including an appendix with full breakdowns of the survey results.

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