Australian art markets are on rebound, and better than Europe's

The Australian art market is on the rebound - and proving to be much stronger than Europe's.

Clearance rates have been solid and buyers are enthusiastic, according to top news website The Australian.

Sydney dealer Denis Savill, who sold two paintings through Sotheby's and spent $1m buying a dozen pieces, said buyers were looking for quality.

"Buyers are young bucks with money, dealers aren't getting much of a look-in," he told the Australian.

The percentage of works selling is reminiscent of the bull market that turned bearish last year - although cash figures are lower than 2007.

There are fewer artworks for sale, and prestige works are scarce because sellers do not want to sell in an unstable market in case they attract low prices or are passed in.

Philanthropist James Fairfax was one exception. Sotheby's sold three of four works offered from his collection.

These included Jeffrey Smart's The Painted Factory Tuscany for a hammer price of $870,000, including the 22% buyer's premium.

On Tuesday night, Bonhams & Goodman auctioned 95 artworks for $2.6m - an 86% clearance rate.

Sotheby's Monday auction of important Australian art achieved a clearance rate of 77% and 94% for its sale of the Austcorp Group's 68-piece collection of contemporary art on Tuesday.

"That's back to the good times," said Georgina Pemberton, Sotheby's head of Australian paintings.

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