THE global art market grew by 11 per cent to £40.1bn over the last year, according to the survey just published by The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF). The report, prepared by leading art economist Dr Clare McAndrew, is the latest in a series of major studies commissioned by TEFAF that act as a focus for the launch of their annual Maastricht fair – the world’s top such event.
Entitled Globalisation and the art market, the 182-page
study focuses on emerging markets such as Russia, India and
The statistics it uses track the market up until the end of
September and so the study does not refect the the downward shift
in the market since October.
Nonetheless, its publication remains an important event because,
in a global market where it is notoriously difficult to pin down
hard statistics, these TEFAF studies are widely known to provide
the raw data by which governments and businesses assess the
international art market.
Although trading patterns have changed dramatically in the past
few months, the study shows how the emerging markets have grown,
with China (including Hong Kong) becoming the third biggest player
after the US and UK, now boasting an eight per cent share of the
While the US still has 41 per cent of the market and the UK has
30 per cent, France (6%), Germany (3%) and Switzerland (2%) are
listed as the only other significant individual countries.
Indian art sales totalled £203m in 2007, 30 per cent of it
generated in India itself, and Russian art selling outside Russia
accounted for £583m. Dubai topped the table as the centre for sales
in the Middle East, accounting for £125m worth of business.
How these nations will fare in the coming year is anyone's guess
at the moment, particularly when one considers that a high
proportion of the Chinese and Indian totals, for instance, came
from transactions in contemporary Chinese and Indian art, markets
that have been severely hit by the downturn.
There are, however, some useful statistics on the number of
auction houses in China, their ranking in the marketplace and
transaction volumes. And the statistical profiles published here
provide valuable background for judging future growth and
Perhaps most usefully, Dr McAndrew dwells on the likely issues
for the future.
Regulation in the emerging markets - both China and India have
fairly stiff restrictions on what can be exported - the problem of
fakes, censorship, currency and transparency in business are all
expected to influence trade to a greater or lesser degree.
Dr McAndrew concludes by predicting a greater role for centres
such as Dubai and Hong Kong if the latest wave of emerging
collectors continues to protect the global market.
By Ivan Macquisten
• Note: The figures in the TEFAF report are in Euros. Exchange
rate used for this article: £1= €1.2