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World contemporary art market resists economic slowdown

Ehrmann said the contemporary art market is showing strong resistance.

PARIS: The world contemporary art market is holding up despite a global economic slowdown, with 2011/2012 auctions returning the third biggest revenues in history, Artprice said in a report obtained exclusively by AFP.

“Given the amplitude of the economic crisis, we can say that the contemporary art market is showing strong resistance,” Thierry Ehrmann, chairman and founder of Artprice told AFP.

Receipts from auctions held between June 2011 and June 2012 declined 6 percent to 860 million euros ($1.1 billion) from a record a year ago of 915 million euros, said Artprice, which keeps the world’s biggest database on the contemporary art market, in its annual report.

The drop is “nothing alarming” as the overall result counts as the third best performance in history, said the report on public auctions of works by artists born after 1945.

Asia had the biggest appetite for contemporary art, making up 43 percent of receipts, while Europe accounted for just under 30 percent.

Some 662 contemporary works sold for over 100,000 euros between July 2011 and June 2012 in Asia, compared to just 382 in the United States and 324 in Europe.

By country, China topped the list, accounting for 38.8 percent of auction revenues, up from third place a year ago.

The United States was the second biggest market with 26.1 percent of the total revenues, followed by Britain with 22.6 percent of the market.

France was at fourth place, but with just 2.5 percent of the world market.

For centuries the worldwide art market was dominated by European auction houses, but a new generation of collectors in Beijing and Shanghai has pushed China to the forefront in recent years.

The contemporary art market recorded its best annual sales in 2007-2008 when revenues cleared 977 million euros, said Artprice.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 04, 2012, on page 16.

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