State of the Art Market: Just my Perfunctory Opinion

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More moaning than ever about the difficulties of evaluating contemporary art. Back that with lots more talk about “speculators” and you have the equivalent of stock brokers hating on day traders.

Lots of breathless pronunciations that the art market is back in boom times.

Perpetual claims of “record” sales prices for every tiny art genre, artist, and period make every evening sale an historic event.

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With our new 3-second news cycles, and all the sweaty drama poured into the auction summaries,  it is hard to imagine that that the art market really does map onto the broad stock market:  Sotheby’s stock fell with the Japanese stock bubble at the tail end of the 80’s, dropped in front of the Nasdaq in the 90s, and  then lead the fall in 2007, dropping swiftly in November, well ahead of the broad stock market which fell in December of that year and sloped downward at a more graceful pace.

Judging from recent reports one could definitely get the impression that the next boom is on, as we may have in May of 2010, only to waken to hand-wringing despair as we did in June and July. Now as we are watching a rocky climb back up again, it is wise to take each $17 Million dollar unregistered Warhol portrait with a grain of salt

Art Noir: Black Lists and Speculators

Charles Saatchi: photo via http://www.artconcerns.com

When a big name collector “offloads” the art of a specific artist from his collection, it can, we have heard, have a chilling effect on the market for that artist’s work. Sometimes this makes the artist very angry. Sometimes things escalate.

All the same, Charles Saatchi feels that a collector should do as they will with the artwork they buy.

Asked about a long-standing rumor that he had “ruined” the career of Sandro Chia when he purged his collection all of his Chias at once,  Saatchi said:

“At last count I read that I had flooded the market with 23 of his paintings. In fact, I only ever owned seven paintings by Chia. One morning I offered three of  them back to Angela Water, his New York dealer, where I had originally bought them, and four back to Bruno Bischofberger, his European dealer, where, again I had bought those. Chia’s work was tremendously desirable at the time a all seven went to big-shot collectors or museums by close of day.”

Continue reading “Art Noir: Black Lists and Speculators”

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