Art Market Watch: Spain is Back, and so is its Art Market

“Following five years of double-dip recession, Spain finally appears to be on the road to recovery,” says Natasha Degen, a scholar and expert on the international art market at Sotheby’s. “Consumer demand is on the rise, exports are increasing, and, in January, JP Morgan released a report titled ‘Spain is Back.’”

Spain may have taken a severe hit from the global economic crisis, but economists are seeing new signs of recovery and predicting growth for 2014, citing promising results in industrial production, exports, and consumer spending and confidence. Naturally, this bodes well for the country’s art market, in particular as ARCOmadrid opens next week. The fair’s organizers anticipate generating around 80 million Euros for Madrid, following last year’s sales that surpassed projections, bolstered by the fair’s concerted efforts to attract foreign buyers and VIPs.  

“In order to compensate for Spain’s economic slump, the fair adopted a more global approach, with 66% of galleries in 2013 coming from abroad,” Degen says. “This year that percentage is even higher, at 68%. The fair clearly has its eye on the high-growth markets of Latin America.” The figures coming from ARCOmadrid confirm this: the fair will represent galleries from 23 countries this year and, with a budget of 4.5 million Euros, it is investing as much as 20% of that in international initiatives aimed at boosting sales. These activities include promoting the fair abroad and fostering relationships with international collectors, of which they’re expecting about 500 when they open their doors for business next week.

Add to the mix brand new tax reforms to artwork acquisitions—tax on art sales has just dropped from 21% to 10%—and a Spanish law that requires banks to invest in the “public good”, resulting in their sponsorship of exhibitions and fiscal support of cultural centers, and the conditions are looking increasingly bright for both art production and sales in Spain.

Explore ARCOmadrid on Artsy.

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