Israeli art looks forward to a brighter future

Following 2 year slump, 2010 saw demand increase, prices exceed their high estimate and new Israeli auction record set.

art work 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
art work 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Following two successive years of contraction, 2010 was a recovery year for Israeli art. Demands increased, prices went up exceeding their high estimates and a new Israeli auction record was set.
The results of the first 2011 sale at Tiroche maintain the recovery and growth trend of 2010. In particular, art buyers continue directing their attention towards safer signatures as demand for works of well established artists continues to increase. New personal records were set at Tiroche's sale for works of Simon Yochanan, Naton Avraham, Lavie Raffi, Reisman Ori, Schloss Ruth and Gat Eliahu.  
In 2007, the Israeli art market was estimated to have reached an all-time high of $36 million (nominal prices). The market experienced a painful correction after this prosperous year as annual sales have dropped about 40 percent in 2008 and 2009 in wake of the global financial crisis. The results for 2010 signify a recovery; annual turnover grossed $ 27 million, a 42% growth, and all price segments are climbing back towards their 2007 levels.
Over 4,000 lots were offered for sale in 2010 in more than 70 auction houses worldwide. Over 2,800 were sold, the highest number ever.
In 2010 the average prices climbed 15% and surpassed their high estimates. In the world, the most affected segment in 2010 was of the blue chip artists, while the worst affected segments were of emerging artists and the market’s high end.
The reaction of the Israeli art market is different as all price segments are climbing back towards their 2007 levels. The best affected segment of the Israeli art market is the high end, enjoying an incline of 40% in prices.
2010 was a successful year for sculpture and photography worldwide. Though Israeli sculpture generates a moderate part of auction turnovers, it enjoyed remarkable demand in 2010 as price levels and number of auctioned items climbed back to their 2007 high levels.
Most auctioned sculpture in 2010 was of the following artists: Agam Yaacov, Castel Moshe, Danziger Itzhak, Kadishman Menashe, Kafri Dani, Orloff Chana, Shemi Yehiel and Tumarkin Igael. 
A new record for Israeli art was set in 2010 as Agam Yaacov's "Growth in 12 parts" was sold at Sotheby's New York for $ 698,500. The former record was Ardon Mordechai's "Timepecker" sold at Christies Tel Aviv for $623,400 in 2006.
The top 10 best-selling Israeli artists worldwide include Rubin Reuven, Agam Yaacov, Gutman Nachum, Bergner Yosl, Blum Ludwig, Castel Moshe Janco Marcel, Simon Yochanan, Tumarkin Igael And Nikel Lea.
Geva Tzibi's sales in 2010 grossed 100% more than in all 2008 and 2009 together. An untitled work of the artist was sold at Sotheby's New York for $46,875, setting a new auction record for Geva.
2009 and 2010 were remarkable years for Yaacov Agam. His sales in 2010 grossed over $1,000,000, an increase of 20% from 2009 and his highest ever. His "GROWTH IN 12 PARTS" sold at Sotheby's New York for $698,500, setting a new auction record for Agam and a new record for Israeli art. 
In consequence to the decease of Meir Pichhadze last winter, his sales went up from nearly $ 40,000 in 2009 to nearly $320,000 in 2010. The increase in sales is due to an increase of 100% in the number of lots sold as well as an increase of 30% in average sales price.His "FIGURE WITH SUITCASES" sold at MATSART for $ 41,400, setting a new record for him. 
Cohen Gan Pinchas was awarded the Israel Prize in painting for 2008. Demand for his works has increased ever since. In 2010 annual auction turnover of his works has tripled. An untitled work of the artist was sold at Tiroche auction house for $20,700, setting a new record for the artist. His former record was set in 1998. 
The works of Argov Michael and Eran Shakine also enjoyed increased demand last year, both posting new auction records. Argov's work "Young woman at the port 55" was sold at Tiroche auction house for $29,900, and Shakine's "Grazing in the pasture" was sold at Matsart for $ 13,750.
Tagger Ziona's "Viwe of Jerusalem" sold at Sotheby's New York for $ 46,875 and “Celebration at Jafa” sold at Tiroche for $ 43,700.
Israeli art is expected to post exceptional growth and strength in 2011. Matsart's spring auction next month and Bonhams first sale of Israeli Art on May 24th will prove an excellent test. This will be the first stand alone sale of Israeli Art and Judaica ever held in Bonhams. Bonhams have teamed up with the Israeli Montefiore Auction House to source items for this sale.