Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



This project offers an introduction to the Japanese art auction market, analysis into insights for auction house specialization and segmentation, insights on the top 100 artists in terms of median hammer prices (unfiltered and filtered with at least ten works sold) and volume, the prominence of Avant-Garde artists in the Japanese art auction market from the years 2008 to 2017, and a new provenance model initiated through digital images in artist analysis. The goal of the project is to draw a general scope of view on Japanese art auction market through data visualization, as well as to offer rudimentary digital models for novel methodologies to approach art market research.

Japanese art auction houses have history back to the 1970s. In this project, six different auction houses were examined (Shinwa, Est-Ouest, Mainichi, SBI Art, The Mallet, and The Market). This range of auction houses reflects the segmentation in the Japanese art auction market, with Shinwa dominating the upper-end of sales, and Mainichi the lower-end. After analyzing the top 100 artists sorted by hammer price, median hammer price and volume and looking at sample works, it is concluded that the Japanese buyers favor relatively cheap art by Japanese paintings whose styles are reminiscent of more expensive Western artists. Among the top 100 by hammer price and median hammer price, many artists belong to the Avant-Garde movement, suggesting that the Japanese art auction market has a strong preference towards Avant-Garde artists.

It is generally considered that the art market is too complicated to be explained within a specific digital framework as there are too many social variables that are too difficult to recognize, yet it is still possible to address questions of market performances and characteristics, with sales prices as the primary information indicating values and relative scarcities. Also, by creating data matrices for pre-set art movements, historical periods and specific artists, the distinct roles that a movement or an artist played can be drawn into the big picture of the contemporary Japanese art market.





Feng, Shuochun (2019). CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE ART AUCTION MARKET 2008-2017. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.