Gagosian’s Moscow Director Reveals that Half of the Dealer’s Overseas Business Comes from Russia
According to Bloomberg‘s John Varoli:
Buyers from Russia and other republics of the former Soviet Union account for almost 50 percent of total global sales at Gagosian Gallery, the art world’s global leader in exhibition space, said one of its directors. Four years ago, it had almost no Russian buyers. Their numbers rose rapidly over the past 18 months, said Victoria Gelfand, director of Gagosian’s London gallery, during an interview in Moscow. [ . . . ]
Russia is the world’s second-biggest oil exporter. According to Forbes, the number of Russian billionaires jumped to 110 in 2008 from 36 in 2004. This new wealthy class is eager to spend on luxury items and fine art.
“The bulk of these sales are postwar and contemporary art,” said Gelfand, who heads operations with Russia. “These buyers have multiple residences, and basically live on airplanes, as they have business interests around the world.” [ . . . ]
“We’re now seeing a revolutionary moment on the art market,” said Gelfand, 31, an American citizen born in Belarus. “People are coming to us and buying who never bought Western contemporary art before.” [ . . . ]
In terms of volume, the more popular artists among Russians over the past two years have been Koons, Richard Prince, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, and Cecily Brown, said Gelfand.