Czech auction market strengthens in 2015 with surge in sales set to continue

Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková

The Czech art market saw the second best result in its history last year, according to data released by the Czech art investment website Collectors and investors spent about 926 million crowns at Czech auctions in 2015, which is around 70 million more than in the previous year. The most expensive painting was a still life by Emil Filla which sold for more than 16 million crowns. I asked Jan Skřivánek of ArtPlus what kind of art was most sought after at auction houses:

Jan Skřivánek,  photo: Matěj Pálka
“The Czech art market is mainly driven by classical modern or more widely speaking the first half of the 20th century, but there is also a growing interest also in 19th century art. A number of famous Czech painters of that era, such as Václav Brožík, Antonín Chitussi or Antonín Slavíček, sold for top prices.

“On the other side of the spectrum we also noticed a growing interest in post-war art. There was a painting by Mikuláš Medek which sold for 10 million crowns, which is again a record in that specific category.”

Have you noticed any significant interest in other works of art?

“There is, although paintings are the most preferred form. But last year there we saw a growing interest of collectors, even though still limited interest, in sculptures, especially from the post-war period.”

Have you registered any significant group of buyers participating at auctions?

“What the owners of the auction houses see as a positive trend is that there are still new people coming to the market and there are young people, in their thirties and early forties, participating at the auctions.

So all these aspects make a very positive overview of the Czech art market which is quite strong and heathy in terms what is offered, what prices these artworks reach and in terms of who the buyers as well.

Are there any special factors fuelling the art market?

Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková
“Either it is old collections; people are selling artworks that either their parents or grandparents have bought. There is also an important number of art-dealers who specialise in finding the artworks, either buying them privately or at auctions abroad and then re-selling them at Czech auctions.

“One area which is quite specific is Chinese art which made quite important part of the market in the past five or six years, but this is actually slowing down, because most of these art works have already changed hands.”

Do you expect this positive trend to continue?

“I do. I don’t see any threat on the horizon so I hope that the positive trend will continue.”