In 2012, Latin American auction sales saw massive growth- increasing by 25% to $84.8 million. Although the latest round of auction sales (in May 2013) showed just a modest 2% increase (from November 2012 sales) auction sales continue to be robust and steadily grow in the Latin American market since the 2008 crisis.
There is broad consensus amongst art experts that the Latin American market will experience growth. ArtTactic, the leading art market analysis and research firm, published in its 2013 outlook that 67% of art buyers expect the Latin American art market to expand in 2013. Also significant is Latin America’s distinction as the regional market which art collectors and professionals have the most confidence in: 59% believe that the market will be positive- by far the most of any of region.
Latin American art is often characterized as undervalued, as there has not been an “explosion” in prices as there have been in other 20th century art categories. Alejandro Zaia, chairman of the London Latin American art fair PINTA, characterizes the market: “slowly, but steadily, prices are heading up,” and “you still have undervalued artists, you have opportunities, but it is not the same as 10 to 20 years ago.”
In 2012, there was strong demand from regional buyers- which may be a consequence of positive economic conditions in markets such as Chile, Brazil and Colombia. According to the Fine Art Fund Group, there has also been a strong demand for modern art work outside of Mexico (which has played a dominant role). Now art works from Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba are also facing strong demand, signaling “that new collectors related to these regions are playing an increasingly important role in the growth of the Latin American art market.” This newly expanded regional base is encouraging for Latin American art. But the expanded base doesn’t just apply to regional players- Latin American art is experiencing its own driving force of globalization, gaining international recognition and demand from buyers in Europe, the US and Middle East. Latin American art fairs have been a key infrastructure trend, and have started to attract attention from the international art world. A positive outlook in the market coupled with stronger regional and global demand are all positive forces for the Latin American art market and are encouraging signs for investors.
The art markets have strong forces driving demand: globalized buyers, the increasing ultra high net worth population and potential for increased allocation to art in investor portfolios. Experts see value in the Latin American art market, and BigSur is happy to act as a player in supporting the growing visibility of Latin American art and bringing it to the world stage. This year BigSur is sponsoring The Modern & Contemporary Latin American Art Show, PINTA, held in New York City on November 14th. In particular, we will be sponsoring a special exhibit on José Gurvich, a very important artist who among other things, embodies the diaspora phenomenon- born in Lithuania, raised in Uruguay, travelling and working extensively throughout Europe and Israel, and finally ending up in New York in 1970. All these diverse environments and experienced shaped his unique artistic talent.
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Article by Ignacio Pakciarz (CEO) and Ilina Dutt (Research Analyst), BigSur Partners.