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Global art market rebounds from financial crisis

(Xinhua)

08:47, October 10, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- The global art market has recovered from the financial crisis, with both confidence and prices continuing to rise. And one of the growth centers is the Asian market, particularly Beijing and Hong Kong.

Compared to other investments, art is relatively unaffected by political and economic changes and has a good long-term performance, which lays a foundation for the art market recovery.

Increased transaction volumes and astronomical artwork prices indicate that the global art market has recovered.

CRISIS AND RECOVERY

The European Fine Art Foundation said the financial crisis exerted a strong influence on the global art market, which witnessed a recession in 2008.

"The credit crunch really affected the art dealing industry," said Zhan Xuhua, art consultant with Artability Art & Collection, adding that some famous paintings were sold at discount prices in auction houses in 2008 and 2009.

The U.S. and European financial crises were reflected in the art market with a dramatic drop in transactions, said Ma Xuedong, researcher of Art Market Research Center.

In Britain and France, artwork sales were to some extent handicapped by a "resale levy" imposed on art dealers, Ma said. According to the resale rights, "the price received for artworks must be returned to the artists."

The French art market was losing ground to the United States, Britain and most importantly China, a French auctioneer said, adding that despite a formidable reservoir of works in private hands, France is "looking for communication with China because today we are all linked."

Artwork is an alternative to other investment assets, such as stocks, bonds and property. And currently it is regarded as a safer option, some art experts said. Besides gold, it is the only commodity that gives steady returns and can gain value over time.

Fine art funds -- a rather recent development -- are drawing more interest from investors who seek to diversify portfolios. They find that art can be an attractive option because, like real estate, it is a real and tangible asset.


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