Report: Pandemic cuts modern and contemporary gallery sales by 36%

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, June 24, 2024

Report: Pandemic cuts modern and contemporary gallery sales by 36%
Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019 © Art Basel.

by Scott Reyburn

LONDON (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- The coronavirus pandemic has reduced sales at commercial galleries specializing in modern and contemporary art by an average of 36% during the first half of 2020, according to a report published Wednesday by Art Basel and UBS.

Based on responses from 795 galleries representing 60 different national markets, the report, called “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Gallery Sector” and written by cultural economist Clare McAndrew, is the first major survey of how the pandemic has affected the world’s art dealers. Last year, global sales of art and antiques were estimated to have reached $64.1 billion, with dealers accounting for 58% of those sales, according to an earlier Art Basel and UBS annual analysis.

“This is big and global and across the board,” McAndrew said in a phone interview. The challenge has been “much bigger” than the last financial crisis, she added. “Sales will eventually recover, but I’m worried about the effect on employment,” McAndrew said.

But, she added, “the market churns on.”

More than 90% of the gallerists surveyed closed their premises during the first six months of the year. Dealer sales were also hit by the cancellation of major international art fairs like Art Basel Hong Kong, Frieze New York and Art Basel in Switzerland. All three events converted to an online-only format featuring virtual viewing rooms.

The report said the percentage fall in gallery sales had been similar to that experienced by the luxury sector from January through June.

The report also found that one-third of galleries downsized during the coronavirus crisis. An average of four staff members were either furloughed or laid off. The report did not give a figure on the number of galleries that have permanently closed, but it predicts that more galleries may be at risk of shuttering before the end of the year and be in a “more precarious position” in 2021.

With international collectors unable to travel to fairs and exhibitions, dealers have predictably become more reliant on online transactions. Last year, online transactions represented 10% of total sales at the galleries surveyed. In the first half of 2020, the figure had risen to 37%, with more than two-thirds of those sales achieved through the dealers’ own online channels, according to the report.

“Our sales are 20-30% down,” said London-based dealer Stephen Friedman, founder of the Stephen Friedman Gallery. Friedman said that he had furloughed a third of his 25 staff members but had no plans to lay anyone off. Before the pandemic, online sales had represented 15-20% of his business. They have now risen to as much as 70%, with about a third of them from online viewing rooms at fairs.

“I feel positive about the future,” said Friedman, whose gallery is celebrating its 25th anniversary. “We’re planning to be around for a very long time. But we are predicting a two-year interruption to our business.”

The Art Basel and UBS survey also included an analysis of the spending habits of 360 high-net-worth collectors. The report found that, despite the pandemic, 92% of the surveyed collectors had bought a work of art in 2020. A majority had spent more than $100,000 on art during the last six months.

“Ninety-two percent seems a big number,” said Candace Worth, a New York-based adviser specializing in contemporary art. “But collectors have been buying online and have been taking appointments with galleries all summer. People are stuck at home, bored and itching to spend money on art,” Worth said.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Today's News

September 11, 2020

LaiSun Keane opens an exhibition of works by Mexican American artist Christina Erives

Auguste Herbin's Le Remorqueur given to Kunstmuseum Den Haag

Sotheby's to offer a 'perfect' 102.39-carat diamond this fall

French museum sorry after woman forced to cover neckline

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac announces European representation of Sean Scully

Report: Pandemic cuts modern and contemporary gallery sales by 36%

New York to mark 9/11 anniversary amid virus gloom

Diana Rigg, Emma Peel of 'The Avengers,' dies at 82

Mammoth graveyard unearthed at Mexico's new airport

Exhibition brings together over 20 sculptures by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne

Christie's announces London Editions Prints & Multiples Online Sales

Exhibition brings together three new LED works by Leo Villareal

Sudan floods threaten ancient archaeological gem

Ronald Harwood, Oscar-winning screenwriter, is dead at 85

Sealed Pokémon box set sells for world-record $198,000 at Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions sells Frank Frazetta's influential 1970 painting The Princess of Mars for $1.2 million

Forrest Fenn, art dealer who enticed thousands to hunt for hidden treasure, dies at 90

The Met names Abraham Thomas as new curator

Foam opens the first museum exhibition of Alec Soth's new series

Film star 1927 Ford Model T truck for sale with H&H Classics

'Impossible objects' that reveal a hidden power

14a opens an exhibition of recent works by Rachel Rossin

Israeli jazz virtuoso Avishai Cohen jives against pandemic

Von Bartha announces representation of Bernar Venet, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and Claudia Wieser

7 Best And Budget-Friendly Places To Stay In NYC

Discover Art, Food, And Architecture Near Gare Du Nord Station

What are the advantages of buying with Bitcoin?

Why the Speed Dating Concept Helps Singles to Find Love

How to Create Twitter Polls: Inspiration for Marketing

How Attracting More Followers and Likes on Instagram Can Become An Art?


Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful