The French Auction Market and Its Epic Comeback in 2022

The French Auction Market Unexpectedly Developed in 2022 and Made a Spectacular $4.6 Billion in Sales, Much More Than in Previous Years.

Mar 9, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The French Auction Market
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Le panier de fraises des bois. Courtesy of ArtCurial.


The French auction market surprised many art experts. Overall, the market in 2022 made a dramatic overturn compared to 2020 and 2019. This year, the total yield from works of art on the French market is $4.6 billion. This is 50 percent more in all categories compared to 2020. Also, 30 percent more compared to 2019, before the pandemic hit. Paris, as the capital, is especially attractive for buyers.


The French Auction Market As the Biggest in Europe?

The French Auction Market
Christie’s Paris saleroom of the Hubert de Givenchy collection. Photo: © Nina Slavcheva. Courtesy of Christie’s.


The biggest increase in sales is visible when foreign buyers participate in buying. Also, during private sales and premium art auctions. These factors can lead to the French capital becoming a leading market in art since Brexit. The world of art has great expectations, both for France and the capital. Henri Paul, the president of Conseil des ventes says it’s early for speculations.

“For us, the impact of Brexit is not the main reason, even if it obviously has an impact on the market, but it’s still too early to evaluate”, he said. Much data show Paris is once again becoming attractive as an art auction center. Many auctioneers and collectors once again see the capital as an important place for art sales and negotiations.


Paris auction
A late 19th Century auction at the Hôtel Drouot, Paris (painting by Albert Bettannier).


In 2022, CVV conducted an economic analysis of 458 French marketplaces. The entire amount of money raised at auctions was $4.6 billion. This is 8.2 more compared to 2021. After the startling growth from 2020 and 2019, the authority characterized it as a merger and acquisition. France now has more than 427 auction shops that were there in 2021.


The Art Sector – The Most Succesffull One in France

Art Paris
Art Paris at the Grand Palais. Image courtesy Art Paris.

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The largest and most successful sector categories in France, when it comes to auction, are: horses, used automobiles, industrial machinery, and collectibles. The most successful of these was the art and collectibles sector. It increased by 12.9% from 2021 to reach €2.1 billion ($2.2 billion) overall in 2022. Several factors influenced the development of the French auction market.

Overall, those are a rich number of works of art and their diversity. One of the painting that was especially popular was “Basket of Wild Strawberries”. This painting is a work of art by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin. This painting is also France’s national treasure. Also, Christie’s sale of the Hubert de Givenchy collection also recorded great sales. It brought $124.5 million to French market.


Art Paris
Art Paris 2020 at the Grand Palais. Image courtesy Art Paris.


“After a difficult year with COVID, Paris showed two extremely good years for the auction market and for the art market in general”, said Paris-based art specialist Etienne Sallon. “This is the combination of great collections coming at auction together with a post-Brexit energy that has led Paris to position itself as one of the most important places to sell art in Europe”, he added.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.