One-third of French galleries may be forced to permanently close their doors before the end of the year because of the devastating impact the coronavirus has had on France’s cultural sector. According to a study conducted by the Comité Professionnel des Galeries d’Art, a French trade organization which collected data from 168 of its 279 member galleries, dealerships expect to lose more than $200 million in revenue by June.
The report found that only ten percent of the galleries, which represent around 6,500 artists, generate more than $3.3 million each year. It also highlighted the art world’s vulnerabilities, for example, more than half of those surveyed by the committee, which was founded in 1947 and is chaired by Marion Papillon of Galerie Papillon, are young galleries that are most at risk of closure.
While the French Culture Ministry has pledged to allocate more than $2 million to galleries struggling financially—in addition to the $1.2 million promised by the National Contemporary Art Fund—Pierre Marin, who spearheaded the study, told the Art Newspaper that the government’s aid “is insufficient to deal with such a crisis.”
The final figure, however, may grow since France announced on Thursday that it would commit more than double the amount of funds it originally allotted to COVID-19 emergency relief. The $50 billion package will now include more than $100 billion to help minimize economic hardship. When Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire addressed the nation, he said that the increase is “necessary to keep companies from going bankrupt and our economy from sinking,” during the worst recession the country has experienced since World War II.