Why is the Italian contemporary art market so active?
Art Market | While Arte Povera is already relatively well recognized on the international market, with some of its artists “financialized” (Fontana, Bœtti), we are currently witnessing a rebirth of Italian contemporary art and a surge in well-promoted Italian artists. A three-part explanation.
A “liquidity” culture
Italians prefer to pay cash. A Bankitalia study highlights this Italian particularity : in 2014, the European mean for annual bank transactions was 97.7 per person, while in Italy only 38.2. The nation is at the bottom of the ratings for European automatic transactions. In this context, art constitutes an alternative financial placement. For example, the Bologna fair Arte Fiera is a minor fair on the international scene, with only 16% foreign galleries in 2016, but has a track record of major cash transactions.
Specialized “Italian Art” sales
Sales specializing in “Contemporary Italian Art” begin to show up near the end of the 90’s at market leaders Sotheby’s and Christie’s, simultaneous with the emergence of the globalized art market. In 1999, Claudia Dwek, vice-president of Sotheby’s Europe and president of Sotheby’s Italy, creates a recurring specialized auction – The Italian Sale – with Christie’s following the lead in 2001. In 2015, both auctions houses combined “Italian Sales” generate £84 million in sales, an increase of 21% over 2014 and almost double 2013’s sales.
Cultural property act
On 22 January 2004, law 42 came into effect, qualifying works over 50 years old as “cultural heritage” and thus necessitating a certificate of free circulation prior to exportation. This protectionist law, whose original goal was to keep Italian cultural heritage in country, has inversely created an exodus of works from the late 60’s onwards onto the international art market. A growing number of international gallery shows bears witness to this trend : Pier Paolo Calzolari at Kamel Mennour, Arnaldo Pomodoro at Tornabuoni London…
Publié le 04/02/2016
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