Since COVID-19 began sweeping the globe early in 2020, the pandemic has negatively impacted almost every industry; causing countless job losses and business closures. Of the few sectors to survive the effects of the pandemic, the tangible asset sector - and in particular, the fine art industry - has proven to be one of the most robust.
Drawing conclusions from 2020
Despite Government funding for the arts falling by around 43% in 2020, the fine art sector has managed to hold steady, continuing an arc which showed the global art sales market increasing from £39 million to £64 million between 2009 and 2019. While investors are almost certainly displaying caution during these troubled times, it seems that an appetite for fine art still remains.
In June 2020, Sotheby’s launched its first all-virtual, five hour sale which included the works of Ginny Williams, in a bid to test the waters of the online market for high value art. During the auction, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (Head) sold for $15.2 million - the highest price ever achieved for a work sold to an online bidder.
An enduring investment
Figures from the Art Index, show an increase of 160% over the last five years - which means that the industry can be cautiously optimistic.
Henarch Galleries Art Advisory, in Tadworth, Surrey, has remained ahead of the curve, despite the pandemic, by offering investors an alternative solution in the form of an introduction to some of the best established and emerging artists from around the world. With over 20 years experience within the industry, Henarch Galleries specialise in Established Investment Grade & Bluechip Artists, a niche which has outperformed the FTSE 100 by a staggering 350% since 2000.
Painting a positive picture
While the fine art industry did, of course, experience a dip in sales during 2020, the figures show that sales totalled $3.5 billion worldwide, proving that fine art is still very much considered to be a viable investment; even during a worldwide pandemic. Although much of the world’s auctions will continue online for the foreseeable future, this appears not to be presenting a significant obstacle as figures show an increase of 40% of online art buyers over the past 12 months.
Some definitive signs of recovery for 2021 include the fact that a number of prominent art fairs, including Frieze New York, Art Basel Hong Kong, Frieze Los Angeles and The Armory Show have all been confirmed as going ahead as planned this year. This means that investors and art lovers will finally be able to get their long awaited art fix; something which will undoubtedly give the industry a boost.
Additionally, following the economy’s V shaped recovery, a lot of auction houses have responded by increasing the number and types of public sales that they will be staging. Should these factors come together, as predicted, to create the perfect storm, many industry insiders, including professionals at the Artnet Price Database, are speculating that 2021 could, in fact, be a record year for the industry.