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The Parisian art market is currently in the midst of a remarkable renaissance, driven by a convergence of key factors. This resurgence is characterized by a heightened interest in Parisian art fairs, a surge in auction house sales, and a growing influx of international art galleries. These elements have collectively propelled the City of Light into a prominent position within the global art market.

In the following sections, we’ll look at the five key drivers behind the Parisian art market’s resurgence.

Join us on a journey through the streets of Paris, where history meets innovation and creativity knows no bounds.

1. Auction Industry Growth

The exponential growth of the auction industry serves as a cornerstone for the French art market’s expansion. In a testament to its remarkable progress, Artnet’s Intelligence report for 2020 unveiled a staggering 49% increase in the auction sector. This upward trajectory has persisted, with both established and emerging auction houses making substantial investments. As a result, Paris is now indisputably a primary contender alongside New York and London.    

Auction houses, Christies and Artcurial, Paris, France, Image courtesy Christie’s

2. Influx of International Art Players

One of the most important contributors to Paris’s resurgence is the substantial increase in investments from international art players. Beyond merely establishing galleries, these influential entities have brought their esteemed clientele to the city. Names like White Cube, David Zwirner, Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, and Skarstedt have firmly rooted themselves within the city’s artistic landscape. Consequently, Paris, once overshadowed by London and New York, has risen as an indispensable hub within the global art industry.

Auction houses, Christies and Artcurial, Paris, France, Image courtesy Christie’s

3. The Advantages of the European Union

By being part of the European Union France has conferred a unique advantage by streamlining transactions with international clients. This has proven advantageous for auction houses, galleries, and artists alike. In contrast, Brexit has introduced complexities for the UK, significantly affecting art trade between Europe and Britain. The decision to exit the EU has increased intricacies and costs in art transactions, notably diminishing the UK’s standing in the global art market.

4. Taxation Policies

France’s favourable 5.5% import tax rate sets it apart from other European nations with substantially higher rates. This distinction, such as Italy’s 22%, has furthered Paris’s appeal as an art market destination. Additionally, the robust position of the US dollar against the euro provides an attractive opportunity for American collectors to invest in the vibrant Parisian art market.

5. Cultural Enrichment through Art Fairs

At the heart of Paris’s resurgence are its renowned art fairs, with Paris+ par Art Basel emerging as the standout event of 2022. Hosted at the Grand Palais Éphémère in October, Paris+ attracted over 150 galleries from 30 countries, amassing more than 40,000 attendees and attaining remarkable sales.

The second edition of Paris+ par Art Basel in October 2023 further solidified Paris’s cultural dynamism. This event hosted international participants from Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, with 15 galleries making their debut, enhancing the event’s diversity. Galleries reported strong sales, contributing to the overall success of the fair.

Paris+ par Art Basel 2022

Throughout history, Paris has maintained its status as a city that champions and nurtures creativity. This characteristic not only provides Paris with a competitive edge but also positions it for an elevated role in the global art market. Nonetheless, it’s vital not to underestimate London’s continued vibrancy as an arts and culture centre.

This may necessitate galleries to adapt and shift their focus toward British artists. However, it doesn’t preclude the possibility of both Paris and London coexisting as thriving cities of culture and creativity, each offering unique contributions to the global art scene.

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