SEOUL, July 7 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s art market continued its upbeat mode in the first half of this year despite an economic slowdown, industry data showed Thursday.
The total sales of artworks in Korea reached an estimated 532.9 billion won (US$410.1 million) in the first six months of 2022, according to data by the Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS).
The six-month amount accounted for 58 percent of the previous year’s total of 915.7 billion won.
It is the first time that KAMS compiled such half-yearly data.
Some 245 billion won worth of art transactions were reported at local art galleries over the January-June period, while auctions arranged by the country’s 10 leading auction houses grossed a combined 145 billion won.
Six art trade fairs held in the first half posted 142.9 billion won in total sales, rising close to the 2021 level of 154.3 billion won.
The so-called art portfolio investment, referring to a new type of art investment into small shares of iconic artworks, is estimated to amount to 31 billion won over the first six months of this year.
The numbers are excluded from the total industry sales.
KAMS forecast that the new sector will grow to 90 billion won in sales at the end of 2022, up from 54.5 billion won a year earlier.
The local art market has been enjoying a boom from last year thanks to rising demand for artworks from individual investors amid the protracted pandemic.
Total artwork sales reached 915.7 billion won last year, up sharply from 327.7 billion won in 2020.
KAMS said the annual amount is expected to reach 1 trillion won for 2022 for the first time ever as the Korea International Art Fair, the largest art event in the country, is scheduled to be held in September in partnership with Frieze Seoul, a prestigious international contemporary art fair by leading art platform Frieze.