Marc Chagall: An Auction Superstar

Particularly over the last two decades, Chagall has become somewhat of an auction superstar. Specifically, if we look back on the current year, many of Chagall’s pieces sold for a higher price than their estimates at the most recent auctions. Read our latest article for a deep dive into the artist's market performance.

15 November, 2022

Following on from our previous articles on modern artist Marc Chagall’s biography and disputed use of symbolism in his works, we now dive into an exploration of the artist’s market performance over the past two decades. Due to his reputation as a hugely popular modern artist, known for his poetic and figurative style, and his long-standing status as a Blue-Chip artist, it is undeniable that Chagall is somewhat of an auction superstar. His numerous works have achieved international recognition, demonstrated by the multitude of global exhibitions they have been included in. This has served to increase the value of Chagall’s body of works and rendered the appetite for them in auctions insatiable. 

Indeed, Chagall's works were exhibited in major galleries and museums throughout Europe and the United States before his death in 1985. The Museum of Modern Art, in New York, even awarded him a retrospective in 1946. Additionally, an exhibition of the artist’s work from 1967 to 1977 was held at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, from 1977–78, and a major retrospective was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1985. Today, his artworks can be found in renowned collections throughout the world, such as in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

According to Sotheby’s Mei Moses, the average compound annual return for Chagall resold at auction between 2003 and 2017 was 6.8%, and 85% of 294 such works increased in value, especially over the last 20 years, during which Chagall has consistently ranked among the top 40 artists in the world according to the Artprice Top List (in 2021, he was n. 27).

Price Index Marc Chagall, 2001-2021, € (Source Artprice)

Evidently, Chagall's market has boomed since 2000. The record for one of his works sold at auction was $28.4 million for ‘Les Amoureux’ (1928), achieved at Sotheby’s New York auction in November 2017. In fact, having demonstrated to be a safe haven asset, Chagall’s work quickly recovered the decrease in value registered at the beginning of the pandemic.  From 2020 to 2021, the artist’s value actually increased by 24%.

Moreover, according to Artprice, £100 invested in a work by Marc Chagall in 2000 would be worth an average of £261 (+ 161%) in December 2021.

Looking back on 2022

Specifically, if we look back on the current year, Chagall’s ongoing market success remains strong. Many of Chagall’s pieces sold for a higher price than their estimates at the most recent auctions. Some highlights include the sale of Scène de cirque' (1978, painting, 73 x 60 cm) for £1,842,000 (estimate: £600,000-900,000) by Christie’s London in March, as well as 'Tête de vache' or ‘La vache’ (1926, gouache, 65.5 x 50.3 cm) for £1,422,000 (estimate: £250,000-350,000). Additionally, during an online auction held by Sotheby’s France that same month, 'La Danse' (1941/46, gouache, 33.5 5x25.8 cm) was sold for €189,000 (+136% from the highest estimate, which was between €60,000 and €80,000). Finally, ‘Les mariés au-dessus du village’ (c.1980, oil on canvas, 23.9 x 32.9 cm) was sold by Sotheby’s London for £ 240,000 (estimate: £ 150,000 - £ 200,000 ) in June, while ‘Le cirque rouge, esquisse’ (1956-1960, oil on canvas, 35.3 x 27 cm) was sold by MatsArt Auctioneers & Appraisers, Jerusalem, for $380,000 (estimate: $260,000-320,000) in October. 

Are you interested in co-owning an original Chagall? You can now purchase Art Shares of ‘Untitled’ (1967) here

Aurelia Clavien

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