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2014 Was the Best Year Ever for Art Sales. Period.

Here are 5 things we learned from the TEFAF Art Market Report.
Jeppe Hein YOU ARE SPECIAL, 2014, powder coated aluminium, neon tubes, two-way mirror, powder coated steel, transformers. Photo by Becky Chung, via "14 Weird and Wonderful Works at The Armory Show"

Now, whenever anyone bemoans the effects of the financial bubble on the art market, you can officially bat an eyelid and say, "That is so 2007." According to The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) Art Market Report, an international investigation into the global art market, 2014 was the best year for art sales ever. Period. Released earlier today, the report, researched and written by Dr. Clare McAndrew, the cultural economist and founder of Art Economics, puts a magnifying glass up to the market's individualized sectors, changing patterns, growth, and economic impact.


With regard to McAndrew's findings, here are 5 important facts about art in 2014:

1. 2014 represented the greatest year for art sales in history

"The global art market reached a total of just over €51 billion in 2014, an increase of 7% year on year and its highest ever recorded level."

2. China, the UK, and the US were the biggest art markets in 2014

"The distribution of sales by value in the global art market was dominated by the three major art markets of the US (39%), China (22%) and the UK (22%)."

3. People want Post War and Contemporary art

"In 2014 Post War and Contemporary was the largest sector of the fine art market, representing 48% of all fine art sale by value.  Auction sales of Post War and Contemporary art reached €5.9 billion, an increase of 19% year-on-year and its highest recorded level." The United States took the lion's share of Post War and Contemporary pieces, with 46% of the market by value. Modern art sales took second place, "accounting for 28% of the global fine art auction market with auction sales of €3.3 billion."

4. Art Fairs: Majorly expensive for art dealers

"Art fairs were again the second largest item of expenditure at €2.3 billion or 19% of the total despite only being incurred by dealers."

5. Millions of people work in the art market

"The Art market in 2014 was made up of some 309,000 companies around the world most of them small businesses, employing an estimated 2.8 million people."

Gavin Turk, American Bag, 2015. Painted bronze. 27 1/2" x 32 5/8" x 32 5/8". Photo by Becky Bass, via "It's Art: An American Garbage Bag" 


Click here to check out the rest of the TEFAF Art Market Report, and visit the The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht from March 13 through March 22.


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