Where Are the Emerging Art Markets?

Focus: ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS

Jeff Rabin Image Jeff Rabin Principal and Founder, Artvest Partners LLC

The art market is growing on a global scale, but it is expanding faster in some countries than others, and the purchases often reflect local tastes, says Jeff Rabin.

Is there a such thing as emerging markets when it comes to art? We’re talking about that today with Jeff Rabin. Jeff, is there such a thing…do markets emerge, in that sense?

I wouldn’t say emerge. I think it’s a global picture, and much like the commodities and debt and equity markets. The information is out there.

It’s a little harder in the art space because all you have is auction market data. But, for instance, China over the last five to six years has become the dominant player, and they are buying—not as aggressively as they were just two years ago, but still quite significantly, to put them as the largest consumer of art as of the end of 2011.

What they are buying, mostly, is traditional Chinese works of art, not Western art. Many people think they’re buying Western art, and they are at times, but it’s not in significant numbers or dollar values.

So, is their buying then, pushing prices of this traditional Chinese art higher in other markets?

Yeah, I mean again, it’s global. So whether the sale is in Hong Kong, London, or New York, the three major global centers for auctions, the participants are there, and they’re being represented.

What other markets are you seeing growing right now?

I think Brazil is growing quite rapidly. The wealth creation in Brazil has been dramatic as well.