ARTS & CULTURE

Art Basel Sales Suggest Art Economy Is In A Boom

06/18/2011 06:50 am ET | Updated Aug 17, 2011

If Art Basel serves as the art world's bellwether, then this years fair is extremely promising. Works by twentieth century artists such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró were in high demand, as were contemporary artists such as Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley.

Around 300 private jets landed in the Swiss city's airport during the fair's first day, ferrying celebrities like Linda Evangelista and Will Ferrell.

Director of New York Gallery, L&M Arts, Sukanya Rajaratnam commented, "There were more people than last year at the opening. The market feels solid, not crazy, but very solid."

Philip Hoffman, chief excessive of the Fine Art Fund Group who were selling pieces at the fair, said that "With currency volatility, cash earning next to zero and inflation at 4.5 pct in London, a lot of people are looking at art right now as a safe haven for their money," he said, "We've seen a feeding frenzy of buyers and some very good works on sale fetching world record prices, above 2007-2008 levels."

Larry Gagosian, of the Gagosian Gallery, was also very pleased with the sales so far, "We had a very strong start," he said.

The buyers for these pieces are mainly the growing class of wealthy Chinese, who have been paying high prices for both Asian and Western art and Europeans. Daniel Templon gallery director Anee-Claudie Coric said, "There are very few Americans this year. I suspect this is due to the weakness of the dollar."

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