global art auction tracking service covers some 2,000 auction houses, so is a useful tool for following rising and falling trends in the art market.
With some one million items on Barnebys search engine at any one time the aggregators number crunchers are able to offer predictions about who is up and who is down, and also spot early trends where a young artists work is attracting attention and rising prices. One such is Kaspar Sonne, the Danish artist who burns and bleaches his work.
In the last five years, Danish artist Kasper Sonne has quietly risen on the contemporary art scene - thanks to his appeal with young collectors and aspiring dealers. The Danish artist's works can command prices up to £12 000, with pieces from his TXC series being some of his most in demand
Pontus Silfverstolpe, co-founder of Barnebys, which is headquartered in Stockholm and has just won another $3.3m in investor funding, says: One of the many strengths of our aggregating data is its ability to give you a heads-up about who is currently attracting serious buyer attention and from where. The system can also be used as a predictive tool on rising or falling markets. In looking at a specific sector of the art market, the important factors are how Realised prices perform against Estimates, the level of Supply and Sell-through rates.
Put simply, in a well-supplied market, if sell-through rates remain high while a designers work consistently outperforms high estimate, you are looking at an undervalued designer. Likewise, if sell-through rates begin to fall and the signs are that designs start to fall consistently within or below estimate, you are probably looking at a market on the turn.
Sonne, the artist currently under Barnebys microscope, lives and works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where he creates and then 'destroys' his paintings and sculptures, in what critics call 'constrained spontaneity.'
''For me, its about doing one thing that's very controlled and methodically thought out and then indulging the urge to do the opposite,'' explained the artist in an interview with Blouin Artinfo.
The chemically treated works are created by painting monochrome shapes on to a canvas which Sonne then pours chemicals onto. The result is a spontaneous display of colour and hues.
The series is popular, thanks to a string of representations at fairs and galleries, solo shows and much hype on social media, in the last four years the waiting list for TXC works has grown exponentially.
The destructive qualities of Sonne's work echoes Modern masters before him, who today are some of the most successful artists In the secondary market. Think of Warhols experiments with chemical process, Yves Kleins forays with fire and Fontanas destructive masterpieces - all big sellers at auction.
Sonne says: ''With every single piece theres a slight anxiety right before I set it on fire. If I go upstate with five canvases, I probably won't come back with five pieces and I kind of like that. Sonne has destroyed almost a quarter of his work intended for his TXC series. Some of them have had to be fixed after the chemicals used by him had caused holes in the canvas.
A recent work that came in via Barnebys Valuation Service went on to sell at Phillips for £5,000.
''It's a little more rewarding doing the chemical paintings because there are more processes: I make one pour, let it dry up, then I'll do another pour and then that changes the colours even more. It's another possibility of doing something wrong,'' says Sonne.
Prior to the TXC series, Sonne worked solely in black and white, exploring the tensions of oppositions: dark and light, calm and chaos, masculine and feminine. This evolved into a need for colour - and this is when the acid-soaked TXC series was born.