Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art Surges in 2022 Auctions: An In-Depth Analysis

Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art Surges in 2022 Auctions: An In-Depth Analysis
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926), Le Parlement, soleil couchant. Source - Christie's

Resurgence of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art

The Art Basel and UBS Art Market Report 2023 provides a fascinating overview of the global fine art auction landscape, revealing that, while smaller in scale than more recent sectors, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art saw a dramatic uptick in 2022. This category experienced a 25% year-on-year increase, culminating in a record $2.6 billion in sales.

Pandemic Impact and Recovery

The pandemic year of 2020 had seen sales nearly halve to $1.0 billion, a low since

the 2009 downturn. However, a powerful resurgence in 2021 doubled sales, with growth continuing into 2022, pushing the market beyond the previous peak of $2.4 billion in 2011, a year characterized by a thriving Chinese market.

Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Auction Sales 2013–2022, Source.

US Market's Exceptional Performance

The American art market demonstrated exceptional resilience, with sales tripling in 2021 and growing by another 83% in 2022 to hit an all-time high of $1.8 billion. The US now constitutes 69% of the global market share by value, thanks to high-value transactions at New York auctions, despite the US volume share sitting at a lower 22%.

High-Value Auctions and Single-Owner Sales

This value surge was significantly driven by the sale of high-ticket items, with the top 10 works all auctioned in New York. These included Georges Seurat’s "Les Poseuses, Ensemble" (Petite Version) for $149.2 million and Vincent van Gogh’s "Verger avec Cyprès" for $117.2 million. The robust performance of single-owner collection sales, notably the Paul Allen sale, was also instrumental in raising values.

UK and France: Mixed Fortunes

The UK market, although not matching the US strength, saw significant growth, up 29% from 2021 to $328.3 million. Despite the UK's global share holding steady at 13%, three of the top 20 lots, all works by Claude Monet, were sold in London, highlighting the UK's continued significance in this sector. Meanwhile, France experienced a sales increase of 67% in 2021 to $90.5 million, the highest since 2013, but faced a decline of 10% in 2022. This shows a market that is still finding its footing post-pandemic, with France accounting for only 3% of global sales by value.

Chinese Market: A Significant Dip

China, the third-largest market in 2022, saw a substantial dip in its global share, down from 22% in 2021 to 9%. After peaking at nearly $1.1 billion in 2011, China's performance has been mixed, and its market declined by 49% year-on-year to $236.4 million in 2022.

Monet Dominates Sales

The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist sector was heavily dominated by a few key artists. Claude Monet was the highest-selling artist for the second year in a row, with his work "Le Parlement, Soleil Couchant" fetching $76.0 million at Christie’s in New York.

High Concentration at Top Market Segments

While the majority of transactions (92%) were for less than $50,000, the market value was highly concentrated at the top. In fact, 78% of the market’s value was in the $1 million-plus range, with 58% accounted for by sales of over $10 million.

Auction Houses: Christie's Leads the Pack

In terms of auction houses, Christie’s led the sector in 2022, accounting for 64% of sales, followed by Sotheby’s with 21%. The top five auction houses, which included China Guardian, Bonhams, and Xiling Yinshe Auctions, accounted for 90% of sales value.


Overall, the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art sector's performance in 2022 demonstrated the enduring appeal and value of these works, which have weathered the global economic turmoil and emerged stronger than ever. As the art market evolves, the success of this sector serves as a testament to the timeless appeal of these artistic movements.


Art Basel & UBS (2023), THE ART MARKET 2023 A report by Art Basel & UBS.

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