There’s an interesting detail in Scott Reyburn’s column on the fate of London’s position in the art market after Brexit. And it has nothing to do with Brexit.
Both New York and London are capitals of the art market for a very specific reason that is often overlooked. There are art galleries all over the world. Many do very well in whatever city they happen to be in. But the majority of those galleries represent artists on the primary market.
The astonishing growth of the art market over the last 15 years has arguably been driven by the strength of the secondary market where works of art owned by collectors are sold to other collectors. Primary art dealers do play an important role in the secondary market, especially for the artists that they represent.
The last decade and a half has seen the explosion, led by the auction houses, has been driven by secondary sales. Many European dealers like Hauser + Wirth recognized before they opened primary galleries in those cities that they needed secondary market outlets in New York or London.
Mr. Ropac’s Paris and Salzburg dealerships represent major international artists including Antony Gormley, Adrian Ghenie, Anselm Kiefer and Gilbert & George. He expects his Ely House branch to concentrate on historical shows by his gallery stable, artists’ estates, “secondary” sales of works that have already appeared on the market […].
“We have wanted to have a stronger secondary market for a while,” Mr. Ropac said, adding that it was easier to sell such works in London than in Paris. “The art market is more strongly developed in London.”
For Art Dealers, the Place to Be Is Still London (NYTimes.com)