Year over year, the overall value of globally exported paintings and drawings spiked 39.6% compared to $12.94 billion during 2020.
Paintings and drawings may be subjective art where traditionally beauty resides in the eye of the beholder. What’s statistically indisputable is that exported artwork places among the fastest-growing commodities sold in the international marketplace.
The top 5 most lucrative exporters of paintings and drawings are the United States of America, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, mainland China, and France. Collectively, that quintet of major art suppliers generated 80% of overall sales of exported paintings and drawings during 2021. That percentage indicates a relatively concentrated set of art exporting nations.
Among continents, suppliers in North America sold the highest dollar amount for exported paintings and drawings during 2021 with shipments valued at $6.3 billion or 35% of the global total. Close behind in second place were exporters in Europe at 32.9% while another 29.8% of total revenues from the international sale of paintings and drawings originated from Asia.
Tinier percentages came from exporters in Latin America (1.5%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Oceania (0.5%) specifically French Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand, then Africa (0.3%).
For research purposes, the 6-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 970110 which encompasses oil, watercolor and pastel paintings as well as drawings.
Exported Paintings and Drawings by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of paintings and drawings during 2021.
- United States: US$6.2 billion (34.5% of exported paintings and drawings)
- Hong Kong: $2.8 billion (15.3%)
- United Kingdom: $2.6 billion (14.6%)
- China: $1.9 billion (10.4%)
- France: $928.3 million (5.1%)
- Switzerland: $787.3 million (4.4%)
- Germany: $769.3 million (4.3%)
- Singapore: $278.2 million (1.5%)
- Italy: $241.8 million (1.3%)
- Japan: $154 million (0.9%)
- South Korea: $141.9 million (0.8%)
- Argentina: $133.1 million (0.7%)
- Belgium: $125.1 million (0.7%)
- Brazil: $121.1 million (0.7%)
- Austria: $102.8 million (0.6%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 95.7% of globally exported paintings and drawings in 2021.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing exporters of paintings and drawings since 2020 were: Argentina (up 1,027%), mainland China (up 314%), Brazil (up 227.4%) then Hong Kong (up 182.5%).
Austria was the lone top exporter that posted a decline in its international sales of paintings and drawings from 2020 to 2021.
Countries Earning Best Trade Surpluses from Paintings and Drawings
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for paintings and drawings during 2021. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported paintings and drawings and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- United Kingdom: US$1.6 billion (net export surplus up 64.9% since 2020)
- Germany: $501.2 million (reversing an -$853.3 million deficit in 2020)
- France: $248.6 million (up 80.5%)
- China: $216.4 million (reversing an -$23.6 million deficit)
- United States: $175.1 million (down -92.2%)
- Argentina: $132.4 million (up 1,036%)
- Brazil: $116.8 million (up 261%)
- Italy: $90.5 million (up 20.6%)
- French Polynesia: $45.1 million (reversing a -$138,000 deficit)
- Ireland: $30.3 million (reversing a -$60,000 deficit)
- Egypt: $11.5 million (reversing a -$1.1 million deficit)
- Spain: $10 million (down -96.9%)
- Denmark: $9.8 million (reversing a -$4.2 million deficit)
- Ghana: $7.9 million (up 2,750%)
- India: $7.3 million (up 1.7%)
The United Kingdom earned the highest surplus in the international trade of paintings and drawings. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms the UK’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
Countries Facing Worst Trade Deficits from Paintings and Drawings
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for paintings and drawings during 2021. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported paintings and drawings purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- Hong Kong: -US$1.3 billion (net export deficit down -1.1% since 2020)
- Singapore: -$386.9 million (reversing a $58.8 million surplus)
- Switzerland: -$358.4 million (down -41.9%)
- South Korea: -$354 million (up 138.3%)
- Japan: -$284.2 million (down -15.3%)
- Austria: -$105.8 million (up 427.1%)
- Belgium: -$76.5 million (down -6.1%)
- United Arab Emirates: -$56.7 million (down -70.8%)
- Israel: -$51.3 million (up 6464.9%)
- Taiwan: -$48.9 million (up 82.3%)
- Canada: -$37.4 million (up 19.5%)
- Australia: -$32.6 million (up 63.3%)
- Saudi Arabia: -$17.8 million (up 99.8%)
- Lebanon: -$13.9 million (up 14637.2%)
- Czech Republic: -$12.4 million (up 244.7%)
Global trade hub Hong Kong racked up the highest deficit in the international trade of paintings and drawings. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights Hong Kong’s strong competitive disadvantages for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for paintings and drawings-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand among Hong Kong traders.
Paintings and Drawings Export Companies
According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following suppliers are examples of international companies engaged in international sales of paintings and drawings. The home-country location for each business is shown within parentheses.
- Art Sender (Canada)
- Fuzhou Baodeyou Trading Co, Ltd (China)
- Global Star Trading (HK) Limited (Hong Kong)
- Goldbrush Inc (United States)
- Quang Thanh Company Limited (Vietnam)
- Ravi Exports (India)
- Tokyo Fujishokai Co, Ltd (Japan)
- Tumadi Traditional Batik Painting (Singapore)
- YH-Arts Limited (United Kingdom)
- Yuen Young Plastics Co, Ltd (Taiwan)
Searchable List of Paintings/Drawings Exporting Countries
The 100 key exporters of paintings and drawings in the following automated database represent 99.99% of the overall value of globally exported paintings and drawings for 2021.
|29.||United Arab Emirates||$16,219,000||-92.8%|
|60.||British Virgin Is||$1,309,000||-33.8%|
|94.||Papua New Guinea||$153,000||+206%|
Focusing on the leading 100 suppliers, the fastest growers from 2020 to 2021 were Aruba (up 31,800%), French Polynesia (up 29,070%), Saint Lucia (up 11,900%), Palestine (up 5,125%), Egypt (up 5,121%), Algeria (up 3,238%), Sudan (up 2,333%), Macao (up 2,166%) and Vietnam (up 1,744%).
You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of the above table’s columns. An entry of 0% in the right-most column means that data for 2020 was unavailable.
See also Top Paint Exports by Country, Diamond Exports by Country, Top Sculptures Exporters by Country and Wine Exports by Country
Alibaba, Supplier showroom for paintings and drawings. Accessed on September 28, 2022
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on September 28, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 28, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 28, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 28, 2022
Wikipedia, Fine art. Accessed on September 28, 2022