Dr Clare McAndrew, who holds a PhD in economics from Trinity College Dublin, wrote the TEFAF report from 2008 until 2016. She is due to release her new report for Art Basel in Hong Kong on March 22 and has made it clear she stands by her own methodology.
“Some of the findings in this new TEFAF report do not resonate with people I have spoken to in the art trade,” McAndrew says.
Pownall says her definitions of dealers and galleries are more rigorous than in the past, by using data from Orbis and a smaller, narrower sample, 5500, compared with 7000 surveyed by McAndrew.
In contrast, McAndrew, who uses data from a variety of sources including Orbis data via Mint Global to analyse dealer activity, alongside her survey of dealers, says her metrics are just as stringent.
McAndrew explains: “It is difficult and very challenging to measure the art market. All databases, be they public or private, are all useful in the research process, but they cannot replace surveys.
“And surveys cannot be applied and interpreted correctly in this market without a deep level of knowledge of the market in different countries and how it operates.”
Pownall used ArtNet for her auction data and did not include data for objects valued at less than $500. For her TEFAF reports McAndrew used ArtNet in conjunction with Art Market Monitor of Artron (AMMA).
“You cannot rely on just one auction data source,” McAndrew tells ATG. “I also use this with results from auction houses ensuring to include data from medium and smaller auction firms.
“The sales at auction of decorative arts in the lower-value segment is very large and should not be ignored.”