Art Market Past and Present - artmarketblog.com If you believe that art auction results are the be all and end all of the art market and that art auction results tell the full story of the evolution of art prices then you should rethink things
important it is to look at the big picture. The wider estimate of “Untitled” (1990) may reflect nothing more than the auction house having difficulty determining what the estimate should be and may not have been done to purposely affect people’s perception of the work but never the less the actions of the auction house did in this instance have the potential to alter the way people viewed the sale results and, consequently, the value of the works.
Am I optimistic about the future of the art market? Yes I am, because there are plenty of signs that people have confidence in the art market and have not lost their nerve. One such sign is the strong results being achieved for contemporary art which has been particularly evident with the November auctions as seen in the table below. The table from chelseaartgalleries.com shows the most successful lots from the November 14 Phillips De Pury Contemporary Art Part II auction. It is important to note that the prices in the table are exceptional and are not representative of the whole market for contemporary art but what they do show is that there is still plenty of confidence in the work of contemporary artists. There has definitely been a reduction in the average price people are willing to pay for many contemporary works but that doesn’t mean that the prices being paid aren’t still good in the overall scheme of things as I have shown in the earlier example of the Albert Oehlen works. The relatively strong market for top works of contemporary art reflects the continued confidence in the work of contemporary artists whose work would usually be expected to be the most seriously affected because of the higher risk involved in purchasing such works. Regardless of what people were paying for works of contemporary art six months ago the prices being paid in this first phase of the art market correction represent an art market that is exceeding expectations on many levels and is still showing strength and resilience in a time of financial distress and uncertainty.
Best performers from November 14 Phillips De Pury Contemporary Art Part II auction:
1 Jin Meyerson Lot: 456 $40,000 - $60,000 $200,000 3.33 times high estimate
2 Steven Charles Lot: 243 $8,000 - $12,000 $32,000 2.67 times high estimate
3 Jack Goldstein Lot: 329 $35,000 - $45,000 $90,000 2.00 times high estimate
4 Eric Freeman Lot: 449 $7,000 - $9,000 $16,000 1.78 times high estimate
5 Beatriz Milhazes Lot: 105 $150,000 - $200,000 $310,000 1.55 times high estimate
6 Yayoi Kusama Lot: 260 $12,000 - $18,000 $26,000 1.44 times high estimate
7 George Baselitz Lot: 346 $15,000 - $20,000 $28,000 1.40 times high estimate
8 Nasser Azam Lot: 120 $150,000 - $200,000 $275,000 1.38 times high estimate
78 3/4 by 78 3/4 in. 200 by 200 cm.
oil on canvas
Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000
Winning bid: $200,000
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based