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To many commentators, this chart of the London auctions over the last five years shows that the venue has somehow passed a test of the effects of Brexit and the new Trump administration on the art market. Whatever effect those two events will have on the art market in general and London as an auction capital in particular, the art market will have to wait and see. Neither event has truly taken place yet. The United Kingdom has not triggered Article 50 nor has it seen the real effects of removing itself from the European trade union.
More to the point, the weakness seen in the auction market beginning with last February's sales cycle came before the surprise Brexit vote or the full impact of the US presidential election. Whatever the causes of the 2016 drop in sales volume seen here and across the Western auction market, the two political events were not directly responsible. The following charts cannot answer the question of what drove down auction totals. But they do shed interesting light upon the composition of the several markets represented in London.
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