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17th April 2013 Sara Lock

Assessing the market for original contemporary visual art

By: Morris Hargreaves McIntyre


The Taste Buds research set out to discover the extent to which individuals in England buy contemporary art and looked at three key questions: How to increase sales of innovative contemporary art, how to improve artists engagement with the marketplace and how to expand the audience for contemporary work.

The research looked at three key areas, production, supply and demand, the methodology included a literature review, consultation with stakeholders, a population survey looking at buyers and potential buyer, in-depth interviews and focus groups with artists, buyers, and suppliers and a survey of artists.

The size of the art market and potential market for art in England

Responses in the population survey were filtered, in order to avoid ambiguity on the type of art under discussion over the phone. The report distinguishes between purchasers – existing and potential – of:

  • original art, by which is meant unique items or signed limited editions
  • original work produced by a living artist by which is meant contemporary art, (even though it might look traditional)
  • original contemporary work that is modern or contemporary in style
  • original, contemporary work that is by artists, ‘recognised to be at the cutting edge of contemporary art and whose work is acclaimed by people in contemporary art circles’
| Published:2013

Smart tags: visual arts