Thursday, November 7, 2013

Big Picture Art Market News

From Is this the end of the art-market bubble? by Felix Saloman on the Reuters website.
"This is one reason why I’ve long said that even if there is a bubble in the contemporary-art world (and I think there is), it’s not a speculative bubble. The people spending millions of dollars on trophy art aren’t buying to flip; the people selling aren’t selling to make a fast buck. Rather, they’re selling because of one of the “three Ds”: death, divorce, debt. The exceptions to this rule are dealers, of course, along with a small number of collectors who are so active they start becoming quasi-dealers in their own right. If you’re well connected in the art world and willing to make an opportunistic purchase, then you’ll probably be willing to make an opportunistic sale as well, when the price is right. 
"But right now, I’m beginning to see indications that things are changing: if you look at this month’s big contemporary art auctions, you’ll see quite a lot of art being flipped, including art being flipped by one of the biggest collectors of them all, Stevie Cohen. According to Carol Vogel and Peter Lattman in the NYT, Cohen is selling a Gerhard Richter which he bought from the Pace Gallery last year, along with “about a dozen other pieces, mostly at Sotheby’s, that he acquired in recent years at art fairs and auctions”.  
Meanwhile, Carol Vogel at the New York Times in an article titled Digging Into Deep Pockets at Auction says:
"It’s strange to think that just a decade ago, Christie’s entire evening sale of postwar and contemporary art totaled $62 million. On Nov. 12, during the second of the two big auction weeks that start in New York on Monday night, Christie’s is offering one painting — a Francis Bacon triptych — that is expected to bring $85 million. Its archrival, Sotheby’s, has a 1963 Warhol that it anticipates will sell for $60 million to $80 million.
"After Christie’s record $495 million postwar and contemporary art auction just six months ago, when buyers from all over the world — New York and Doha, Beijing and São Paulo — competed on everything from a Pollock drip painting to a classic canvas by Lichtenstein, seasoned collectors like the hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen, the newsprint magnate Peter Brant and the musician Eric Clapton apparently thought it was time to cash in before the good times end.
This season’s contemporary art catalogs are as thick as doorstops, brimming with more paintings, drawings and sculptures with estimates of over $20 million than ever before.
 Then there's Kathryn Tulley at Forbes whose article is titled, Contemporary Art: End of a Bubble or Already Burst?, cites statistics that suggest Salomon is behind the times in making predictions of a collapse in the market. She says the decline has been underway for a while.

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