The Evolution of Art Sales: Auctions and Online Markets

The art world is not just experiencing remarkable growth in size but also undergoing a significant transformation in the way art is bought and sold. The rise of art auctions, art fairs, and online sales has revolutionized the art market.

These trends reflect an increased interest in both traditional auction houses and digital platforms, making art more accessible to a broader audience.

In this article, we will delve into the exciting world of art auctions and online sales, highlighting their impact on the art market.

A Global Perspective on Art Auctions

In the art market, auctions are captivating events where collectors and enthusiasts gather to bid on valuable pieces of art. These auctions play a pivotal role in determining the value of artworks and facilitating their sale.

In 2019, the global art auction figures surged, rising by an impressive three percent, reaching a staggering $29.1 billion. This indicates the enduring popularity of traditional auction houses and the strong demand for valuable artworks.

Kenya’s Success Story: Modern and Contemporary Art Auction East Africa 2019

African nations are not left behind in the global art market’s growth and evolution. In Kenya, the Modern and Contemporary Art Auction East Africa 2019 was a resounding success. This auction, held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, showcased a diverse range of artworks, capturing the attention of art enthusiasts and collectors. The results were impressive, with total auction sales exceeding Sh30 million.

Notably, 90 percent of the 59 lots on display found new owners. This reflects a growing interest in modern and contemporary African art, both locally and on the international stage. Kenyan artists, along with their counterparts from various African nations, are gaining recognition and appreciation for their creative expressions.

The Digital Shift: Online Art Sales

While traditional auctions continue to thrive, the digital era has ushered in a new era of art sales. Online platforms have become powerful tools for both artists and collectors. Digital art marketplaces offer a wide range of benefits, including accessibility, convenience, and a global reach.

Collectors can explore and purchase artworks from the comfort of their homes, and artists can showcase their creations to a worldwide audience. These online sales are not limited to traditional artworks; digital art, NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), and other innovative forms of artistic expression are gaining traction in the online art market.

Expanding the Art Audience

The emergence of art auctions, fairs, and online sales expands the art audience. These platforms are making art more accessible and approachable. Traditional art auction houses often host events that are open to the public, allowing people to witness the excitement of art bidding firsthand.

Digital platforms break down geographical barriers, enabling individuals from around the world to engage with art. As art becomes more accessible, it fosters cultural exchange and appreciation, bridging gaps and transcending borders.


The art market’s evolution, driven by art auctions, fairs, and online sales, reflects the art world’s enduring appeal and adaptability. The growth of art auctions globally, coupled with the success of events like the Modern and Contemporary Art Auction East Africa 2019, demonstrates the increasing interest in art, particularly from Africa.

Online sales, on the other hand, are democratizing the art market by allowing artists to reach a global audience and enabling collectors to discover a diverse range of artworks. As these trends continue to shape the art world, it is evident that art remains a powerful and accessible medium for expression and appreciation in the digital age.