By Chloe Darnaud
Brexit has been damaging British art sales, experts say. Sally Kalman, who runs London’s Crane Kalman gallery, explains: “Transporting paintings around Europe will get more complicated. We may have to pay extra VAT and maybe five per cent import duty. I think the whole thing will make business more complicated.” And Reg Singh from London’s Beaux Arts gallery points out they are already shipping art outside the EU. “We’re selling more to Americans and Chinese. Europeans have never bought so much British art anyway,” he says.
“We’re selling more to Americans and Chinese. Europeans have never bought so much British art anyway.”
Although the decrease in the value of the pound has incited foreign buyers to purchase art, there has been a slowdown in sales within the UK. A survey by the Creative Industries Federation found that 96 per cent of those working in the art industry were against Brexit.
Graham Simpat from Thompson’s Gallery says the post-Brexit scare lead to a decrease in sales at first, but that it picked up afterwards. “For the first two months after Brexit, everybody went quiet, everybody got nervous, they all sat on their hands. But since then it picked up because people got used to the idea of Brexit,” he explains.
For now, the art trade has taken Brexit in its stride. The industry could survive as an alternative currency that faces the winds of inflation and depreciation. Although the weaker pound has been beneficial to some, there is a risk of a long-term damage to London’s position as Europe’s art-buying capital, depending on the terms and conditions of the Brexit deal.