China drives art sales down

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

GLOBAL con­tem­po­rary art sales slowed by one-quar­ter in the year to July as de­mand in China dried up, ac­cord­ing to lead­ing in­dex Art­price. Turnover was US$1.5 bil­lion com­pared with $2.1 bil­lion in the pre­vi­ous year.

“The mar­ket saw a healthy pe­riod of ad­just­ment, which was as nec­es­sary as it was pre­dictable,” Art­price founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Thierry Ehrmann said in the re­port re­leased on Oc­to­ber 2.

De­spite the cor­rec­tion, con­tem­po­rary art “re­mains a par­tic­u­larly high-per­form­ing longterm in­vest­ment”, Art­price said.

It said the sec­tor has ex­pe­ri­enced growth of 1370 per­cent since 2000 and has pro­duced an an­nual re­turn of nearly 5pc in the same pe­riod in a mar­ket in which the num­ber of art­works has quadru­pled.

The re­turn rose to 9pc for works with a pur­chase price ex­ceed­ing $20,000.

But Chi­nese col­lec­tors, who have driven the con­tem­po­rary art scene in re­cent years, turned their back on mod­ern art and bought clas­sic works. Chi­nese buy­ers snapped up Monets worth $214 mil­lion, a sin­gle Van Gogh work, “L’Allee des Alyscamps”, that sold for $66 mil­lion and Modigliani works worth $170 mil­lion.

As a re­sult of the change in Chi­nese buy­ers’ priorities, China slipped to third in the global con­tem­po­rary art mar­ket be­hind the United States and Bri­tain – or more pre­cisely New York and Lon­don, which ac­count for the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of the sales.

Sales in the US and Bri­tain ac­counted for 65pc of the global sales. The United States sold $582 mil­lion worth of con­tem­po­rary art in one year. Al­though that rep­re­sented a 24pc drop year-on-year, it still rep­re­sented 38pc of the mar­ket.

Sales in Bri­tain were also down, but only by 10pc, to $399 mil­lion.

An un­ti­tled Jean-Michel Basquiat paint­ing sold for $57.2 mil­lion at Christie’s in New York in May, set­ting a new record for the late artist.

Two other stars of the con­tem­po­rary mar­ket, the Amer­i­cans Jeff Koons and Christo­pher Wool, still sold more than $10 mil­lion of art each.

A zom­bie has make-up ap­plied ahead of the game’s be­gin­ning.

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