• gerard van weyenbergh

Impact of pandemic on galleries

The Coronavirus epidemic, which has spread across Asia, Europe, and the United States, has had devastating effects on the world art trade in two months. Market observers feared the bankruptcy of 30% of galleries and antique shops around the world.

The market could only find a slight breath of fresh air through generally modest online sales. At the same time, prices collapsed in several areas, except for exceptional pieces, rare to find in this period of general containment, a trend easily verified in the estimates of the online catalogs of major auction houses that will likely benefit those who are not cash-strapped.

Galleries worldwide expect an average loss of 72% of their turnover and even 79% in the United Kingdom. Still, in the end, 33% of them will have gone out of business because of the Covid19 pandemic, especially the smallest ones that will not have had the financial means to keep up.

Still having liquidity, the large galleries will gradually rebuild themselves on the condition to obtain aid in the countries where they are located and see the low-interest rates maintained for their loans.

It remains to be seen how many employees among the 67% put on forced leave during the pandemic will be able to return to their jobs while the countries concerned have acted for the moment in dispersed order, Germany being the most generous by lending 50 billion euros to businesses and self-employed people. For its part, the United Kingdom has pledged to help unemployed staff and self-employed people, while the United States has allocated $ 370 billion in loans to small businesses who felt that the measures were not in place.

The galleries would have hoped for substantial reductions in taxes and VAT after having withheld stands at fairs later canceled, not to mention that they had to continue paying their rents, representing between 27 and 40% of their monthly expenses. , the smallest finding themselves exposed to inevitable bankruptcy in the face of owners unwilling to turn into patrons while the laws against evictions can be easily bypassed.

Actors of the art world will have to struggle for at least four years to find their level of 2019. © Adrian Darmon Video: Harvey Young: The future of fine arts