Many centuries ago, art was a very powerful symbol of power, culture, and refinement in the hands of very few. Gradually, societies evolved and with the changes, new actors appeared, who, driven by intellectuality and economic prosperity, turned art into their showcase.

The different relevant components of art in people and inhumanity, in general, can be discussed, but not questioned, and especially in contemporary societies. This status of untouchable and unequivocal symbol of power, culture, and refinement has given it a new power since the last century: the economic one.

German economist Magnus Resch, founder of Larry’s list database, has produced the first global report on collecting in contemporary art.

The numbers are impressive.

Magnus Resch defines the collector as one who has at least $ 1 million, is an active buyer, and acquires a significant number of works. There are currently between 8 million and 10 million collectors in the world. Of these, 38% are European, 28% American, 18% Asian, and 8% Latin American. 50% of collectors in Larry’s list, database own more than 500 works of art and 30% more than a thousand.

Beyond this list, we will see more economic data.

Large auction houses had a turnover of more than 500 billion dollars in 2019, on June 17 Patrick Drahi acquired 61% of the shares of Sotheby’s for 3,140 million Euros. And with the pandemic has come online sales with a stratospheric business volume.

We continue …

Beatriz Plaza conducts a study on the economic impact of museums in the cities where they are located. I stop because of my affinity with the Guggenheim Bilbao, which in 2006 generated 740,904 overnight stays and created between 900 and 1,200 full-time jobs, direct or indirect, and she adds. “As a result, we are talking about a new job for every 100 tourists.” The Prado Museum generated profits of 745 million euros in the Spanish economy in 2018 or the economic impact of Malaga in 2018, estimated at more than 547 million.

Despite the numbers, art has and maintains a first-rate human and social splendor. This has been understood by many companies and banks that have been quick to open foundations and museums of art for social and artistic purposes (although art represents very important assets). The impeccable Cartier Foundation for contemporary art dedicated to the art promotion and as an innovative example of business patronage in France or the Hermes Corporate Foundation which in the words of its director Olivier Fournier ”through authentic and demanding work, attentive to the world around us, the Hermès Corporate Foundation cultivates the garden of diversity and explores many areas around artisanal and creative knowledge. ” Or the Getty Foundation, Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Telefónica Foundation, and a long list more.


As I said at the outset, the different relevant components of art in people and inhumanity, in general, can be discussed, but its importance in contemporary society is not questioned. And in order, I would say impact and individual and collective wealth, social impact and economic impact: the radiance of art.