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ARCOmadrid_2011 exhibition view. Photo: Ilze Žeivate

Almost all the galleries managed to sell works this year, and their representatives unanimously appreciated the presence of international buyers at ARCO. The majority of professionals who participated in the fair concluded that the high level of sales can be explained by a gradual increase in the labor market in the art sector. 

This year, international collectors were very active in purchasing works of art. Even the largest Spanish collectors invested more in art this year than in previous years, actively and equally participated and collaborating in the fair. The interest of state institutions, and their participation in art investments, has also returned this year. Regardless of the current economic crisis, great efforts were made to fulfill the central procurement plan from Spain. This was led and implemented by representatives of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. They have announced that they purchased twenty different works of art from artists of various regions (including artists from other countries). The keepers of the Spanish collections were interested in not just modernist classics, but also the youngest contemporary artists. Here are a few figures: The total value of works purchased by Reina Sofia was €680,260. Private collectors invested 25% more than last year. For example, Fundación Coca-Cola Juan Manuel Sáinz de Vicuña invested about €100,000 in purchasing works by seven artists, whose chosen media ranged from sculpture and painting to photography and video.

Žeivate explains: “Yes! Even on the first day, many galleries could take pride in having sold works, and you could see the red dots marking sales all over the place. On the last day of the fairs in 2008 and 2009—the beginning of the economic crisis—there were only six galleries with red dots in the entire enormous pavilion. It was a catastrophe! This year there was barely a single gallery without red dots. The Japanese gallery sold all its drawings in the first hours. This year ARCOmadrid could truly take pride in the fact that red dots were shining everywhere, everywhere… And current trends definitely had great importance too. In terms of represented media, collages were sold out on the very first days. Then, for example, there was the influence of Aleksander Rodchenko: From a distance it seemed as if a work was almost identical to the compositions and collages of Rodchenko. Or Klucis! [Gustavs Klucis –M.P.]. But then you went closer and saw that I was a young artist… Second, the pricing policy has changed, too. The prices were very adequate, staring from 500 euros for a small drawing to 20,000 euro for two-meter-high watercolors. That’s why so many works were sold. There were also lots of old masters, whose works were very expensive; but buyers today are young collectors, and they are looking for artists from their own generation. Good prices and new, interesting artists—that’s definitely why so many works of art were sold at ARCOmadrid this year.”

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