As an outsider looking in, the possible merger of BADA and LAPADA seems like a ‘no brainer’. Duplication, consolidation and a more powerful single entity offers a stronger position for dealer representation.
However, there is a third tier to this discussion, and that goes to the larger CINOA organisation and the international reality of the industry.
The art and antiques business is now more global than ever before. UK dealers can’t rely just on the UK market, just as Americans need foreign buyers.
Issues that affect UK dealers such as the ivory ban, or other legislative actions, mirror the same challenges in the US. This globalisation of the art market will only increase, as local markets dissipate to the online, borderless marketplace.
As fairs now push a dealer’s presence all over the world, they have the parallel expense of website development and use of third-party platforms like 1stdibs to capture the attention of a world market.
My point is that a truly effective dealer organisation is a top-down entity.
Dealers all over the world face similar challenges and with the present international fragmentation of representative organisations, few if any coordinated efforts can be effective.
A single international umbrella organisation could set a tone that individual country member organisations could follow, down to a local town or state level.
It is true that strength is in numbers. A true consolidation of dealer representation on an international, national and local level would allow for a strong unified voice in the bigger picture of the trade’s international image and future economic viability.
Lewis J Baer
Newel, New York