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March 14, 2011

TEFAF: Art market 50% up in 2010

By Spear's

The global market for art and antiques recovered significantly in 2010 driven by a strong performance in the United States and huge growth in China which overtook the United Kingdom to move into second place for the first time

Maastricht, 14 March 2011. The global market for art and antiques recovered significantly in 2010 driven by a strong performance in the United States and huge growth in China which overtook the United Kingdom to move into second place for the first time. A 52% rise in the market from its 2009 low point and a seismic change in its geographical distribution is revealed in The Global Art Market in 2010: Crisis and Recovery. This new report has been commissioned by The European Fine Art Foundation, which organises The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) to be held in the Dutch city of Maastricht in the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre) from 18 – 27 March 2011.

The report also shows that an EU art tax due to be extended in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Austria next year risks further damaging an already weakened European art and antiques market by encouraging vendors to sell elsewhere. The research, based on data gathered from dealers, auction houses, collectors and other sources, has been compiled by Dr Clare McAndrew, a cultural economist specialising in the fine and decorative art market and founder of Arts Economics.

“The period from 2008 through 2010 has been one of crisis and recovery for the market for art and antiques,” says the report. “Luxury spending contracted sharply in many countries during 2009, however 2010 brought the first signs of economic recovery with a rebound in consumer confidence and with Chinese consumers driving growth in many luxury sectors.

“After a worse than estimated contraction in the second half of 2009, the global art and antiques market fell by 33% from 2008 values to a total of €28.3 billion. This fall represented a contraction of 41% from the market’s peak in 2007, one of the biggest declines in the art market since its previous recession in the early 1990s.

“In 2010 there were some significant signs of recovery, especially in China and the US, and the global market as a whole rose by 52% to €43 billion. The volume of transactions rose more moderately during 2010 (by 13% year-on-year) and much of the market’s rise in value was due to an increase in the number of high value works being sold.”

Key findings of the report include:
● The most significant development in recent years has been the phenomenal growth of the art market in China, which has nearly doubled in value since 2009.
● China became the world’s second largest art market in 2010 with a global share of 23%, overtaking the UK for the first time. Auction sales in China totalled almost €6 billion in 2010.
● The US continued to dominate the international art and antiques market with a share of 34%.
● The European Union’s overall share of the global market in 2010 was 37%, a decline of 16% from its high point in 2003.
● The UK remains Europe’s largest art market with 59% of the EU total but its global share was 22% in 2010, 5% down since 2006. France is second in Europe with 16% of the EU’s sales and 6% of the world total.
● The number of High Net Worth Individuals in the Asia-Pacific region now equals Europe for the first time in history and their wealth is greater.
● The global contemporary art market has recovered from its slump in 2009 when sales fell by 66% but the resurgence has been “significantly higher” in the US and China than in Europe.
● Dealers generated 51% of sales in the global art market compared to 49% by auction houses and on average 30% of dealers’ business is done at art fairs. The traditional on-street gallery is in decline.

The Global Art Market in 2010: Crisis and Recovery also examines the EU’s plan to extend the resale levy on works by artists who have died within 70 years of the date of the sale to all member nations by 2012. At the moment the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria and Malta, which did not previously apply the tax, are exempted from it. The levy already applies throughout the EU to works by living artists but the market for recently deceased artists is much larger. The most important non-EU markets, notably the US and China, have no plans to introduce the tax.

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The report looks at the cost of sending works to non-EU markets for sale to avoid the levy and finds that it would be worthwhile for a vendor to send any work worth €40,000 or more to New York. Owners of works coming into the currently exempted countries for sale from outside the EU may also be more likely to send them elsewhere. The report concludes that unless there is a global agreement to impose the levy, it “risks causing further declines in the competitive position of the EU and markets within it” threatening employment in the art market, related industries and cultural tourism.

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