April 24th, 2022

T. S. Harris, “Embracing the Sky,” oil, 30″ x 30″

Almost two years ago in 2020, we wrote a blog anticipating how COVID might affect the art market as well as the ways in which we and the art market at large could adapt. We were cautiously optimistic that people would still be inclined to buy art, given the increased need for beauty during such a challenging time. Nevertheless, because it was such an unprecedented time, we really did not fully know what to expect. 

Now almost two years after we first learned what a global quarantine might look like, we are glad to report that the art market — both locally and globally — has not only survived this period of great change, but rather thrived in it. 

Gallery MAR Manager Eileen Treasure chats with collectors during the 2021 mask mandate

Gallery MAR Manager Eileen Treasure attributes this to people’s increased desire to beautify the spaces around them. “I think that people definitely want their homes to be more beautiful, perhaps now more than ever before,” Treasure says, “and the work we sell is really for people who will love it.” It seems that spending more time in our homes than ever before only highlights the importance of curating a space that brings us joy and comfort. 

Our collectors at Gallery MAR are not the only ones finding an increased need for beauty in our lives. According to the Economic Times, the pandemic “didn’t put a dent in the art market.” This past year, auction sales reached $17.1 billion, thanks in part to increased online sales and the boom of the NFT market. 

Bridgette Meinhold, “A Silent Promise,” encaustic, 46″ x 96″

Artprice president Thierry Ehrmann posits how, “the health crisis accelerated the art market’s digitization.” Now 87% of auction houses have offices specifically designated to deal with online art sales. ArtNews observes how, “almost immediately, galleries and auction houses moved to present as much art online as possible, and to create new ways for collectors to interact with the work on sale. These businesses had already been honing their virtual presentation.” At Gallery MAR, we seek to continually adapt to the changing needs of our collectors, including creating new and innovative ways to meet the growing needs of online art buying. 

In addition to an increase in online art sales, the swift recovery of the art market can also be attributed to the boom of the NFT art market. ArtNews reports that, “Nearly three-quarters of the collectors surveyed had purchased art-related NFTs in 2021, and NFT sales via online platforms accounted for $2.6 billion.” 

A still from one of artist Jylian Gustlin’s animated NFTs

Not only have current sales in NFT art boomed, but the market of NFTs is expected to continue to rise. ArtNews continues, “more than half of the collectors surveyed reported an interest in acquiring digital artworks in the next year, with millennials accounting for the majority.” 

Several of our Gallery MAR artists have dipped their toes into this new, exciting world of NFT art and found it full of promise. Our artist Jylian Gustlin considers how NFT art will open up new worlds of creative potential: “It’s like the Renaissance when creativity just poured in,” Gustlin muses, “That often happens when we have big world traumas, like COVID, so I think it’s going to be another Renaissance.”

Nina Tichava, “After Winter Must Come Spring,” mixed media, 60″ x 30″

While online art buying has been steadily increasing for years as our world becomes more and more digitally savvy, there’s no telling how rapidly the increase in online sales would have soared had it not been for the pandemic. With its soaring online art sales and its embracing of NFT art, the art world has only proved its capacity for adaptation and its zealous love for art, by whatever means necessary. 

We cannot help but feel proud to know that despite the hardships of the last two years, you, our collectors, continue to place great value on finding beauty right where you are. We look forward to continuing to help you find the works of art that bring you that profound sense of joy, peace, and belonging. 


Written by Veronica Vale


Works Cited:

ARTnews: Global Art Market Rebounded to Pre-Pandemic Levels

ARTnews: When the Pandemic Forced the Art World Online

The Art Newspaper: The Future’s Bright: Millennials Help Art Market Stage Post-Pandemic Recovery

The Economic Times: The Pandemic Didn’t Put a Dent in the Art Market