The United States has again overtaken China as the world’s leading marketplace for art at auction. After a record 2015 the US showed growth due to the sale of major works by Picasso, Giacometti, Monet and Warhol. There was a 20 percent growth in the first six months of 2015, with sales totalling £1.79 billion $2.8 billion (2.5 billion euros), almost a billion more than China with sales worth £1.21 billion.
Reasons given for the spike was a strong dollar and no Droit de Suite the estate tax introduced by the EU. The tax has seen many important works of art auctioned in the States rather than London. The highest price achieved was at Christie’s for Pablo Picasso’s “The Women of Algiers (Version 0)” which sold for £114 million, the highest price ever achieved for an art work sold at auction. Giacometti’s “Man Pointing”, became the most expensive sculpture sold at auction for £90.2 million.
Artprice reported a global drop of 17 percent from January to January and this very well reflects the Chinese economy which has suffered meltdown in the past six months. Global sales dropped by 5.0 percent from a year earlier, slipping from £5.11 billion to £4.5 billion.
Meanwhile, sales in Britain continued to grow by 6.0 percent in the first half of the year after unprecedented growth of 35 percent in 2014. Sales in the UK totalled around £1.2 billion, less than £639m million short of China’s.