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Art market growing as annual extravaganza opens in Basel

Art market growing as annual extravaganza opens in Basel
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Art Basel in Switzerland is the world's most important art fair: it is where the ultra-rich come to spend millions of euros on some of the world's most famous artworks. It is the perfect opportunity to examine the state of the global art market.

"Woman with Dog" by Pablo Picasso is available for €28 million.

Art market economist Clare McAndrew says: "The market has done fairly well for the last two years. We have seen two years of consistent growth and it grew last year by about 6% so it has reached about $67 billion (€59 billion) so you can see by size alone that it does spark the interest of the kind of mainstream investment community. At this stage, it is a big business."

"Le Vol De L'Oiseau" by Joan Miró, is available for €22 million. Artworks of big, established names always do well in Basel - prices rarely drop

"As long as we can keep fuelling the market at the high end with the pieces that people want, then there is always going to be a demand for those because it is driven by scarcity," said McAndrew. "So, everybody is chasing the same very few names at the top end. So, it creates that kind of scarcity and it keeps prices being driven up."

Goulphar II by American abstract expressionist painter, Joan Mitchell can be yours for €4.8 million. High-class art fairs have the advantage of bringing together many potential buyers at one spot.

Lisa Schiff, an independent art adviser, explains the attraction of art fairs: "I'm grateful that galleries still have spaces all over the world. And when I have the time, and I do this for a living, so I go all the time. But it's easier for me to get my clients to come to a fair than it is to get them to come to a gallery."

But, of course, there are pieces available for all budgets - if you feel like splashing out. Art Basel in Switzerland is on until this Sunday.

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