A much-referenced annual study found the market had recovered to prepandemic levels. Some industry observers question the methodology.
LONDON — International art sales “recovered strongly” after a pandemic-blighted year, according to the latest annual Art Basel & UBS Global Art Market Report, published on Tuesday. Sales reached an estimated $65.1 billion, up 29 percent on the previous year, the report says — but that headline figure, combining auction and gallery sales, remains short of the trade’s estimated $68.2 billion peak in 2014.
“The market showed great resilience under continuing uncertainty in 2021,” wrote Clare McAndrew, a Dublin-based cultural economist, in the sixth edition of the report, published Tuesday by the world’s largest art fair franchise and its main corporate partner. She added that the market was “buoyed by robust growth, particularly in the auction sector, where secondary market sales of high-end works of art provided a significant uplift in value.”
The Art Basel & UBS report is regarded as the most authoritative annual study of the global art market, and its findings are routinely cited in the news media. It is the only comprehensive survey of the international art trade that incorporates both values for public auctions and estimates for confidential dealer sales. The figures for dealers are based on self-reported survey responses from galleries, many of whom also exhibit at Art Basel fairs.
According to the 279-page report, aggregate dealer sales rose to an estimated $34.7 billion in 2021, 18 percent up on a crisis-hit 2020, but still below the level of 2019. “The highest rise in values year-on-year was in the segment of dealers with sales of between $5 million and $10 million,” the report says. “The smallest gains were experienced by dealers with turnover of less than $250,000.”
Auction sales also advanced in 2021, according to the report, reaching $26.3 billion, 47 percent up on the previous year and exceeding sales in 2019. Auction houses’ private sales in 2021 contributed a further $4.1 billion, the report says.
Online-only auctions were key to that recovery: So, too, was the major auction houses’ successful use of livestreaming for their marquee sales. Although not new, the hybrid online/live format had “substantially improved in terms of the quality of production and technical efficiency,” according to the report.
China (including Hong Kong) remained the biggest market for public auctions, with 33 percent of the market, slightly ahead of the United States at 32 percent, followed by Britain at 13 percent (down from 18 percent in 2019). France made a notable upward move: Benefiting from the fallout of Brexit, auctions there increased by more than 60 percent to $2.2 billion, raising the country’s global market share to 9 percent.
Given that online and hybrid auction sales were surging throughout 2021, while international art fairs only returned to in-person formats during the second half of the year, some seasoned art world observers were perplexed that Art Basel & UBS reported that dealer sales exceeded auctions.
“I don’t believe the turnover of the dealers was bigger,” said the Belgian collector Alain Servais, a regular buyer of contemporary art at both fairs and auctions. Servais is a longstanding critic of what he regards as the Art Basel & UBS report’s “finger in the wind” methodology for calculating dealer sales. This year it was based on 774 survey responses, mostly from Europe. Galleries with turnover of more than $1 million a year supplied 37 percent of the responses.
“The dealers’ survey is overweighted to the larger galleries,” said Servais in an interview. “They like the output of the report, because it gives a rosy view of the art world,” he added.
In an interview, McAndrew, the report’s author, conceded that, “More would be better, but it does capture an important chunk of the market,” adding, “I’m optimistic in the future that there will be better ways to measure things.”
McAndrew said her report was focused on the “traditional infrastructure” of the art trade, though there was a “huge universe of transacting” outside those structures, with NFT platforms producing “jaw-dropping” figures. Sales of art-related NFTs increased over a hundredfold year-on-year, reaching $2.6 billion. Sales of NFT collectibles grew to $8.6 billion, says the report, using data supplied by NonFungible.com.
NFTs entered the traditional art market’s auction sector in 2021, but at “limited values thus far,” the report says: Christie’s raised $150 million; Sotheby’s sales reached $80 million.
As the report was completed before Feb. 24, it does not address the war in Ukraine and its possible effect on the art market in 2022.
“We’re maybe facing a recession that’s very different from the corona crisis,” said, Marta Gnyp, an art adviser and writer, based in Berlin.
She also pointed out the relatively small sample of dealer data on which the Art Basel & UBS report bases its findings. “It’s all guesses and estimates,” said Gnyp in an interview. “But, since the same limited data have been used over the years, it gives us an idea of the direction. It’s good to have it.”
Portfolio: weekly art listings – St. Albert TODAY
May’s exhibit is Transdimensionality: What Moves You? — a collaborative exhibit between members of the public and members of the Sculptors’ Association of Alberta. People contributed photographs the sculptors then interpreted into their own three-dimensional works. Participating sculptors include Carroll Charest, Yiyi Datar, Tania Garner-Tomas, Jennifer Lang, Beverly Oliwa, Wanda Resek, Susanne Scheers, Ellie Shuster, Keith Turnbull, Lisa Wilkinson, and Robert Woodbury. Until May 28.
25 Sir Winston Churchill Ave. 780-460-5990 and vasa-art.com
Art Gallery of St. Albert
High Energy 27 makes its triumphant in-person return after a two-year hiatus. The annual high school art student show features more than 100 works by students from Bellerose Composite High School, École Alexandre-Taché, École Secondaire Paul Kane High School, St. Albert Catholic High School, and Outreach High School. In-person tour with curator Emily Baker is at noon on May 24. A virtual tour with curator Emily Baker will take place at noon on May 26. Until June 4.
Kanawêyimêw (She Takes Care of Them) is the incoming exhibit by Cree and Métis artist Michelle Sound. Her work is based on her family history from the Wapsewsipi/Swan River First Nation on Canada’s west coast, the unceded and ancestral home territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Waututh peoples. She has two bodies of work to show. Chapan Snares Rabbits (consisting of 14 rabbit fur drums) will be on display on the stairs, while the photographic series called nimama hates fish by worked in the cannery will be on display in the vault. Virtual tour with curator Emily Baker will take place at noon on June 21. Until Aug. 6.
19 Perron St., 780-460-4310; artgalleryofstalbert.ca
St. Albert Public Library
The regular Art in the Library monthly art display of works by members of the St. Albert Painters Guild is on hiatus for the ArtWalk season. Members of the St. Albert Photography Club will have works on display for May instead. Until Tuesday, May 31.
5 St. Anne St. (in St. Albert Place). 780-459-1530; sapl.ca
St. Albert Seniors Association
The St. Albert Photography Club has a rotating selection of artistic photographs on display in the foyer area of Red Willow Place.
7 Taché St. stalbertphotoclub.com
National Image Salon
St. Albert professional photographer Jason Marino has four of his images on exhibit in a national online salon that celebrates the best of Canadian professional photography. He is also one of the finalists in the Photographic Artist of the Year category. The competition features entries from across Canada in 22 different classes, including commercial, portrait, fine art, and wedding. Marino’s image, called Unwavering Eye, has also been selected for inclusion in the prestigious Professional Photographers of Canada’s 2022 Loan Collection, a national exhibition celebrating the best of Canadian professional photography. The salon was revealed on April 23 online and live on the Professional Photographers of Canada Facebook page at facebook.com/PPOCNational. More of the artist’s works can be found on his website at jasonmarinophotography.com.
Colour Scheme is a rotating monthly online art gallery featuring selected works by students of Bellerose, Paul Kane, and St. Albert Catholic high schools. Each month of the school year, several pieces from each school will be highlighted on The Gazette’s website at www.stalberttoday.ca on the last Saturday of the month. The most recent exhibit focusing on heliotrope was posted on April 30.
ArtWalk is returning for another summer of the city’s newest and best visual art, with different artists each month. The event takes place inside and outside on the first Thursdays of each month. The next events are: June 2, July 7, Aug. 4, and Sept. 1. Locations include the St. Albert Public Library; WARES in St. Albert Place; the Musée Héritage Museum; Art Gallery of St. Albert; VASA (Visual Arts Studio Association); the Bookstore on Perron; La Crema Caffe; and the Big Lake Artists Studio. Supporting venues include Confections Cake Co; Divine & Free Wellness and Medical Spa; Inspired Home Interiors; Turkish Coffee House; and XO & Mane Boutique. artwalkstalbert.com
Art in the Open takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 11. Members of the St. Albert Painters Guild will have their artworks on display in more than two-dozen front yards for this self-guided art tour with shows and sales across the city, rain or shine. Visit paintersguild.wildapricot.org for more information.
Art for spring and beyond – Winnipeg Free Press
After a long winter, having a bit of colour can be encouraging, especially when it comes in the form of art. The Spring into Summer Art Show & Sale, held from April 29 to May 1st at Elmwood/EK Active Living building, was an ideal opportunity for people to brighten up their homes while supporting local artists.
Every year, the Local Colours art group holds an exhibit and sale to showcase the work of local artists. As the organizations Facebook page notes, the Local Colour Art Group is an organization of artists dedicated to the creation of art, and its promotion in the community. One of the difficulties for artists is finding an audience for their art beyond family and friends. The annual show and sale is one opportunity to attract the wider community.
Many people draw or paint as children, but it can be difficult to continue much beyond that without support from other artists. The Local Colours group strives to provide a forum for members in which to gather to paint and to share their interests, skills and experiences, as the groups website states. Workshops, virtual paint and chat sessions, and the annual show and sale are among the ways that the artists in the group help support each other.
The annual show and sale is a good opportunity community, as well. For many people, art can seem distant and formal, something confined to artists whose works are displayed in galleries or shown only among the wealthy.
The Local Colours Annual Show & Sale sends the message that art can be for everyone. With the event taking place at a community centre rather than more formal setting, it was something that everyone could enjoy.
This years event coincided with the early days of warmer weather in Winnipegs extremely long winter. Although the show and sale is over for the year, it is also a beginning both for the artists who exhibited their work and for the community.
Creating art can be a long process, involving years of training and experience, but it can also involve quick flashes of inspiration as artists see or hear something that stirs the imagination. Many people will look forward to seeing what this years creativity brings.
Elmwood community correspondent
Susan Huebert is a community correspondent for Elmwood
ARTS AROUND: Last chance to view children’s exhibit at Rollin Art Centre – Alberni Valley News
This week is your last chance to view an art exhibit featuring local Port Alberni children.
“Moments in Time” is the current art exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre. It is a collaboration of children’s art organized by the Early Childhood Educators of B.C. Port Alberni branch, which looks at the world through children’s eyes.
The exhibit runs until May 20. The Rollin Art Centre is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is located at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Argyle Street.
“SPRING – Seasonal Imagery” is the title of the next art exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre. This exhibit will reflect the gentle changes of the season and create a unique mood and feeling associated with this season based on your interpersonal reflection.
Join us in the gallery on Saturday, May 28 for refreshments and an opportunity to meet with some of the featured artists: Janice Sheehan, Mae LaBlanc, Joan Akerman, Jayant Chaudhary, Cathy Stewart, Cynthia Bonesky, Mary Ann McGrath, Cheryl Frehlich, Dodie Manifold, Patrick Larose and Karen Poirier. The exhibit open May 25.
Two-Day Watercolour Workshop at Rollin Art Centre — June 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Ionne McCauley is an accomplished artist, quilter, and author, currently living in Qualicum Beach, who has taught colour workshops for more than 25 years. Next month, she will teach the basics of colour theory and pigments during a watercolour workshop in Port Alberni. In this workshop, you will learn about value, hue, tone, shade and saturation. Explore the learnable magic of watercolour paints, how to achieve glowing colours and how to choose (and use) pigments for exciting colour combinations.
Workshop Fee is $150 and supply fee (paid to the instructor) is $20. Register at the Rollin Art Centre: 250-724-3412. Numbers are limited.
One-Day Acrylic Workshop at Rollin Art Centre — Saturday July 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — When you think of landscapes, you might think “Oh that’s too complicated.” Not so! If you break it down into simple shapes, it becomes easy and fun. In this workshop, Susan Schaefer will guide you through landscapes, discussing what makes a good composition while simplifying your landscape. Schaefer has been a professional artist for the past 20 years and has taken workshops from some of Canada’s finest artists. She has a fun and relaxed way of teaching, working with students at their individual level and ensuring a good learning experience for all.
Workshop Fee is $115 +GST and a supply list is available. Register at the Rollin Art Centre: 250-724-3412. Numbers are limited.
LOOKING FOR ARTISTS
The annual Solstice Arts Festival is back after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. Join us Saturday, June 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rollin Art Centre.
Spaces are available for artists and artisans on our terrace or in our two gardens. There is lots of room to spread out and it is a picture-perfect spot to set up an easel or demos of the artwork you create.
If you are interested in displaying at this year’s free family event, call the Rollin Art Centre at 250-724-3412 for more info. Spaces are $25 for the day.
Teas on the Terrace events are back at the Rollin Art Centre. Tickets are now on sale at a cost of $20 for our strawberry teas and $25 for a “High Tea.”
The first tea will take place July 7, with musical guest to be announced.
June 1 and 2 – Workshop – “Watercolour – The Basics of Colour Theory and Pigments”
June 18 – Solstice Arts Festival – Spaces available for artisans
June 22 – July 22 – “Women’s Work” – group exhibit – Sue Thomas, Jillian Mayne, Colleen Clancy, and Ann McIvor
July and August – Teas on the Terrace – Tickets available now
Melissa Martin is the Arts Administrator for the Community Arts Council, at the Rollin Art Centre and writes for the Alberni Valley News. Call 250-724-3412. Email: email@example.com.
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