Despite concerns that London might lose its status as Europe’s art world capital to Paris, the city remains a powerhouse in the art market, second only to New York. While Paris may be the trend of the moment, the UK continues to rule the European art market.
The Role of the Primary Market
London’s art market relies heavily on the international primary market. Collectors, regardless of their location, engage in the primary market by building relationships with dealers and artists to secure coveted artworks. The city where a show takes place doesn’t necessarily dictate the market’s health, as the primary market is highly international.
A Focus on Artist Preferences
The location of an art show often depends on the artist’s preference. Artists’ choices determine where their work is displayed and sold, making it challenging to assess the impact of a specific city on the market.
Challenges for Established Galleries
Brexit and its associated laws and requirements have presented challenges for well-established galleries, particularly regarding increased business costs. Older galleries have struggled to adapt to the new regulations. New galleries, which have emerged in the post-Covid, post-Brexit era, are better equipped to navigate this environment.
London’s Growing Art Scene
Despite the challenges, London’s art scene is evolving positively, with a wave of new galleries and enterprising dealers revitalizing the city’s cultural landscape.
Expanding Beyond London
Some London galleries are exploring new territories to mitigate Brexit-related difficulties. Modern Art gallery is set to open a space in Paris, recognizing the need to adapt to the evolving art landscape.
Paris has experienced a renaissance, with many international galleries opening spaces in the city. However, this has yet to translate into a significant market share. The UK maintains a strong position, with a 16% share of the art market compared to France’s 8%, as per the Art Basel/UBS Art Market Report.
London boasts a critical mass of institutions, museums, and artists that are not planning to relocate. The city’s art market is bouncing back from a period of decline, witnessing growth in revenue, particularly in the auction sector.
The Global Art Market Landscape
While Paris is growing as a market, New York continues to lead the art world. London, despite currency depreciation and high inflation, is expected to maintain its position, making it a central player in the global art market.
In summary, London’s art market remains robust, thanks to its international primary market and a dynamic art scene, while challenges from Brexit have led to creative adaptations by some galleries. Paris may be experiencing a renaissance, but London’s position in the art world remains strong and resilient.