Brexit sparks an exodus of artworks form the UK

The last days of Britain's membership of the EU saw a rush to get artworks out of the country before the introduction of new export rules.

Among the thousands of lorries backed up in Dover last month trying to get across the Channel, one was carrying a painting by Henri Matisse, says Alberto Nardelli on Bloomberg. Another, transporting a work by Argentinian-born artist Lucio Fontana, was stuck in the queue along with “tens of millions of dollars of other artworks”. All were trying to get to the European Union before the end of “minimal restrictions… without cumbersome tax and customs procedures” that arrived with the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020. 

One specialist shipping company saw volume jump by 75% in December compared with the previous year. While some works will return to Britain with a Temporary Admission Bond (an arrangement that defers sales tax for up to two years), the reasons for the exodus were many. Some galleries saw more potential buyers in the EU, others decided that “maintaining the pieces’ European status would better support their financial value in the longer term”. Still others wanted to “preserve the allure of artworks that were originally from Europe”. Whatever the reason, the “impact of the Brexit departures is likely only a ripple in a UK market that in 2019 was estimated to have reached $12.7bn in sales… But it’s still another example of how Brexit is bringing friction to markets where previously there was none”, says Nardelli.

The extra paperwork “is actually proving to be quite a painful process”, Joe Kennedy, co-founder of London gallery Unit London, tells The Art Newspaper. “But we are hopeful these are just growing pains.”

Recommended

China’s economy is heading for a sharp slowdown
Chinese economy

China’s economy is heading for a sharp slowdown

With a slowing property market, Covid lockdowns sapping growth and the CSI 300 stock index down by 22% this year, China’s economy is in trouble.
6 Oct 2022
5 of the world's best stocks
Share tips

5 of the world's best stocks

Concentrating on a few highly profitable companies that excel in their fields can reduce the overall risk in your portfolio, says Rupert Hargreaves. H…
6 Oct 2022
The dangers of derivatives as the “Goldilocks era” ends
Investment strategy

The dangers of derivatives as the “Goldilocks era” ends

That this is no longer a benign environment for investors, says Andrew Van Sickle. But – as the recent pension-fund derivatives blow-up shows – not ev…
6 Oct 2022
There’s still time to submit your energy meter reading to avoid a higher charge
Personal finance

There’s still time to submit your energy meter reading to avoid a higher charge

You need to submit your gas and electricity readings as soon as possible to avoid overpaying after the October energy price increase.
6 Oct 2022

Most Popular

Should you take a 25% tax-free pension lump sum in instalments?
Pensions

Should you take a 25% tax-free pension lump sum in instalments?

Taking out a 25% tax-free lump sum sounds appealing but it might not be the best way to manage your pension
30 Sep 2022
Markets may have bounced, but this is not the end of the bear market
Stockmarkets

Markets may have bounced, but this is not the end of the bear market

Stocks are back on the rise, commodities and precious metals prices are up – even the pound has rebounded. But none of this is typical of bull markets…
5 Oct 2022
October’s Premium Bonds: how to check if you are a winner
Savings

October’s Premium Bonds: how to check if you are a winner

NS&I has added almost 110,000 more prizes to October’s Premium Bond draw – are you a winner?
4 Oct 2022