London Closes the Gap
Gleadell, Colin, Art Monthly
In spite of import VAT and the introduction of the artist's resale royalty (droit de suite), London is currently improving faster as a market centre than New York. Figures from Sotheby's and Christie's for all sales during the first six months of 2007 show London at $3bn--ahead for the first time of the US total of $2.6bn. This has been due mostly to the strength of the pound against the dollar, and the growing number of buyers in Europe, southern Asia and Russia who seemingly prefer to do business in London.
Although New York is still ahead in contemporary art, the gap between the two is closing. Since 2003, regular New York sales totals have increased by just over four times. In London they have increased by eight. In June the London sales returned a record 221m [pounds sterling]. The comparable figure a year ago was 81m [pounds sterling].
An important factor behind these figures is the increased number of American collectors selling in London to take advantage of the strong pound. In June US collectors Elaine and Melvin Merians opted to sell 19 School of London paintings at Christie's which contributed 16.8m [pounds sterling] to a UK record 74m [pounds sterling] contemporary art sale.
Top lot was Lucian Freud's 1992 full-length portrait of the writer Bruce Bernard, which sold for 7.8m [pounds sterling]--a record for the artist and, briefly, for any living European artist. Further records from the Merians collection were set by Paula Rego's Moth, 1994, which sold to Marlborough Fine Art for 378,400 [pounds sterling]; Michael Andrews' landscape Sax A.D.832-Second Painting, 1983, which sold to …
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Publication information: Article title: London Closes the Gap. Contributors: Gleadell, Colin - Author. Magazine title: Art Monthly. Issue: 309 Publication date: September 2007. Page number: 43+. © 2009 Britannia Art Publications Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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