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Technology in the Spanish Art Market – Guest Post

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We are happy to join The Art Market Agency Spain in their conference on the Spanish Art Market. We asked Juan Antonio Rodríguez, founder of the agency to share with us some information on the Spanish Art Market and its players.


Spain has always been a country of creativity and great art made by important and successful artists however, unluckily as a county, Spain, haven´t achieve the same success at making revenues from our “production” or at creating a strong Art market. Spain represents only a 1% of the total Art Market and within Europe our revenues means only 2% of the total Market. In other words countries like UK, Germany, France, and of course the world’s leaders, US and China, are an Art Markets galaxies far away from us….

Take for example Picasso, one of Spain’s greatest painters and one of the most important artists of the 20’s century, who holds the record for the most expensive painting ever sold at auction (163M€ at Christie´s in 2015 with Les Femmes d´Alger, “Version O”), his paintings are been sold mostly abroad because consignors know that a greater prices could be achieved with the Auction Houses leaders of the world.

Le femmes d Alge by Picasso. Source: Christies
Le femmes d Alge by Picasso. Source: Christies

However, as the global Art Market is changing so it does in Spain. There are more chances than ever to generate new opportunities and reshape it because the new Art Market is influenced by:

  • Internet: is disrupting the market: entry barriers are lower than ever, clients got accustomed buying valuables online.
  • Globalization: Auction Houses, dealers and art galleries can find buyers worldwide as long as they have quality artworks, appealing websites and the right marketing tools.
  • New collectors: millennials are attentive to design and luxury and are buying photography, illustrations, and contemporary art that are just click away.
  • New auction models: Software empower dealers/auction houses to create quick and easy types of auctions: online-only auctions, live bidding auctions, etc.
  • Distribution: like any other mature markets (Travel, Retail), Art professionals are creating a winning distribution strategy which includes: direct distribution at their website, web marketing positioning and indirect distribution through Art Online Marketplaces.

Those changes are been assumed by main Auction Houses in Spain like Duran SubastasBalclis Subastas, Sala Retiro: all of these players invested on creating new websites, are using easy to use software that empowers them to work on their catalog’s web publications, using external “live bidding solutions” and are aware of the new “collectors” and the global distribution.  In addition the mobile world gets its focus as well with applications that allow you to bid directly from your mobile; Virtual reality allows you to see the works in advance and software’s to track work provenance and authentication are in place as well.

The current Auction Market in Spain is formed by 40 main businesses; at least 33% of them have adapted to this new reality. Live bidding technology is just one example. Live bidding allows buyers to bid remotely in real time while watching in streamed video the Auction sale, a solution that opens a new and powerful channel to increase sales and reach wider audiences is not restricted to the space of the saleroom (and the phone calls).

Besides these traditional players who adapt to the online world, we can see auctioneers that are operating completely online and that offering lots on “timed-auctions” (also named as online-only); in this new group the main leader in Spain is Setdart, a player that offers thousands of works on a weekly basis. Other players of this kind are joining the party among them Subastas Imperio, Quoniam, Ward House Subastas, Subastas Regents….and if you were wondering what about galleries and other art market place, these are positioning themselves as well. Just take a look at the rising startups of KreislerArt, LetArt, Flecha, Artig Gallery, and others, which are selling contemporary art online without a physical space.

To summarize there is a momentum in Spain for traditional and new art companies that are engaging with technology to offer Art Online in a different and appealing way.


Many of these trends, opportunities and threats will be discussed at the upcoming Art Market in Spain conference by The Art Market Agency. The event will take place on September 14 in Madrid, Spain. For registration and more information click here.

 

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