Secondary market

Sales of works at auction reached $95 million in 2012 – around five times the market in 1991

Auction sales of visual art works in Australia reached around $95 million in 2012. These sales are understood to relate mainly to the secondary market, in which artworks are resold, and include contemporary and heritage works.[1]

Sales at auction have experienced strong growth since the 1980s – peaking at $175 million in 2007. Since 2007, total sales have fluctuated between $88 million and $115 million annually, and they remain more than 5 times the size of the market in 1991.

Australian auction turnover includes sales of works by non-Indigenous Australian artists (83 percent), Australian Indigenous artists (8 percent), and overseas artists (9 percent).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art sales have stabilised around $8.2 million, after four consecutive year of decline.  Sales remain well below the record total of $26.4 million set in 2007.

[1]   The primary market is made up of works being sold for the first time – usually in a commercial gallery.