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UK draws close to US as world’s premier art market

01 March 2010Written by ATG Reporter

THE UK has almost drawn level with the United States as the world’s premier art market by value, according to the latest report commissioned by The European Fine Art Foundation.

Dr Clare McAndrew, who completed the research for TEFAF in her report The International Art Market 2007-2009, revealed that in 2009 the UK enjoyed a 29% share of the global market compared to the 30% for the US.

China has moved into third place with 14%.

The changes have taken place against a significant fall in the value of the global market, which rose to 48.1bn euros in 2007, before dropping back to 42.2bn euros in 2008 and then descending dramatically to 31.3bn euros in 2009.

Other headline statistics show that the UK art market employs more than 52,000 people directly in over 9000 businesses, generating more than 14bn euros in auction and dealer sales in 2008. And when the market was at its peak in 2008, close to two million people were directly employed by the art market worldwide.

The 69% share of the European Union market that the UK enjoyed in 2008 fell to 57% in 2009, almost wholly because of the 374m-euro Yves St Laurent sale staged in Paris in February that year. However, that is expected to rise again in 2010.

The increasing importance of private treaty sales via auction houses shows them recovering market share from dealers, who overtook auctioneers when it came to overall sales about three years ago. However, as noted in ATG No 1926, although Christie’s reported that private treaty sales had increased from 9.5 to 12.5% of their global sales total for 2009, because revenues had fallen across the board, private sales actually fell by one per cent in real terms to £265.7m.

By Ivan Macquisten

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