PicassoMio Art Blog
European Art Markets: An Analysis on 2009 ARCO Sales
“We worked twice as hard to achieve half the results, as last year.”
“The prices seem to have fallen to the 2005-2004 levels”
- ARCO Galleries commenting on 2009 results
ARCO, the leading Spanish art fair, is one of the most relevant art fairs, as a barometer of the art market, in Europe and Latin America. The 2009 ARCO was held during the month of February. At this year’s edition, the invited country was India, which has been one of the hottest art markets, over the last decade.
Due to the lack of details provided by the organizers, it was hard to determine the exact sales figures. We based our analysis of the results, on the following factors:
Number of Galleries: The numbers declined by 8% from 257 (2008) to 238 (2007) galleries
Number of Visitors: These numbers sustained themselves at 200,000, although it is believed that the ticket sales declined by over 5%.
Institutional Sales: While details on institutional sales were not available, MNCARS (Reina Sofia Museum) usually the leading institutional buyer in Spain purchased artworks worth €667, 272, a decline of 42%, from €1,164,000, in 2008.
Spanish Retail Market: Sales of domestic appliances and other goods to outfit homes retreated 20 percent, in January 2009 versus last year.
Stock Markets: The IBEX 35, the leading equity index for the Spanish market was down by approximately 50% on a Year-on-Year basis, between 2008 and 2009.
Based on our conversations with some of the participating galleries, disclosed results and broader market conditions, we believe that ARCO sales declined between 40% to 50%, in € terms. In terms of the number of artworks sold, we believe that the decline would have been much smaller, as galleries working in the primary art markets tend to be flexible with prices, and given the market conditions, very interested in closing sales, albeit, at much lower prices.
We expect the ARCO results to start recovering slightly in 2010 and reaching 2008 level, by 2011.