Adduco Capital Partners – consulting and advisory specialist in Fine Art acquisitions and sales.

Having had exposure to the private art market for over 10 years in sales and advisory, we have always been struck by the way works of art were offered in the market. More particularly, the lack of transparency, the very poor dissemination of correct information and the hurdles (seemingly created) that make transactions so difficult to conclude. Our role is to make this a seamless exercise.

By creating accessibility and an optimal environment to transact. Our connections to scholars and art experts, who are qualified to comment on the provenance and authenticity of the works as well as having access to a network of collectors and buyers allows us to affect credibility and stability.

Our approach provides a very good transactional framework for the private art market. It is also a means to create and cement mutually beneficial relationships and this adaptive template is applied to other lines of business.

*Key Findings – The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report 2024

1. Following two years of growth, sales in the art market slowed in 2023, falling by 4% year-on-year to an estimated $65 billion. Against a backdrop of high interest rates, inflation, and political instability, sales were thinner at the top end of the market, and the performance of some of the major art markets diverged. Although they were down year-on-year, values remained above the pre-pandemic 2019 level of $64.4 billion.

2. Despite the fall in value, the volume of transactions grew in 2023, increasing to 39.4 million (up by 4% on 2022), with the uplift driven by the relative buoyancy of transactions at lower price levels for both dealers and auction houses, and the pullback being mainly at the high end, where volumes tended to be lower.

3. Both public auction and dealer sales decreased in 2023, although the decline in auctions was more severe, falling by 7% versus a 3% drop in dealer sales, and saved from a deeper contraction through the injection of postponed 2022 sales in China early in the year. Private sales at auction houses went against the declining trend, increasing by 2% year-on-year.

4. The US maintained its position as the leading market worldwide, accounting for 42% of sales by value, down by 3% year-on-year. China, including Mainland China and Hong Kong, became the second-largest global art market, with its share rising to 19%, while the UK fell back to third place with a share of 17%. France remained in a stable fourth position at 7%.

5. After showing much resilience to intense economic and political pressures in 2021 and 2022, sales in the UK market fell by 8% to $10.9 billion in 2023. The UK is a key hub globally and within Europe for sales of the highest-priced works, and as these thinned out and imports of art to the UK declined, the market fell to 11% below its pre-pandemic level ($12.2 billion in 2019).

Looking ahead to 2024, 36% of dealers expected an improvement in sales, down from 45% when asked at the end of 2022, 48% expected sales to be about the same, and 16% predicted a decline. While the smallest dealers were the most optimistic about sales in 2022, at the end of 2023, the largest dealers were the most hopeful for a better year, with just over half (54%) expecting an increase.

In the auction sector, optimism was also relatively high for a better year in 2024, with 38% of mid-tier businesses expecting sales to improve, higher than the dealer sector but down on the share in 2022 (when 48% predicted higher sales). Only a very small fraction of these companies (4%) predicted a drop in their own auction sales and this was down significantly from 24% in 2022.