New Australian Art Auction House - australianartmarket.com Melbourne based auction house Mossgreen recently announced that they would be joining forces with Sydney and Melbourne based art auctioneers Deutscher and Hackett to start a new auction house
News-Antique.com - May 11,2009 - Melbourne based auction house Mossgreen recently announced that they would be joining forces with Sydney and Melbourne based art auctioneers Deutscher and Hackett to start a new auction house called Artemis Auctions. According to the Mossgreen website “The new company-Artemis Auctions- as a specialist fine art auction house, will establish itself immediately as the market leader for the presently under-serviced middle to lower market level of the Australian art market”.
Now although I wish Mossgreen and Deutscher Hackett all the best with their new venture I hardly think that the middle to lower market level of the Australian art market is under-serviced. In fact, if anything, I would suggest that this area of the market is over-serviced. At last count there at least six auction houses servicing the low to middle ($5000 to $20,000) market including:
1. Bonhams and Goodman Bay East
2. Shapiro Auctioneers
3. Leonard Joel
4. Charles Leski Auctions
5. Elder Fine Art
6. Davidson Auctions
Not to mention the higher end auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Deutscher Menzies who do actually include works of the $5000 to $20,000 level in their auctions.
The lower to middle market is experiencing a bit of a renaissance thanks partly to the financial crisis which has provided a very good reason for selling that painting inherited from Aunty May that hangs above the couch and is probably worth somewhere in that $5000 to $20,000 range. However, it would appear that there are more than enough auction houses to cope with the influx of low to mid range works. What about the higher end of the art market I hear you ask? Well, the higher end of the art market consists primarily of people who can afford to weather the storm so those in the possession of higher end works of art are less likely to be in a position where they have to sell.
With sale totals for the major art auction houses down as much as 75% compared with last year I wouldn’t be surprised to see those auction houses that deal with the higher end of the market vying for a piece of the middle market pie meaning which would mean even more competition for Artemis Auctions.
Unless Artemis Auctions can offer something for the lower to middle market that the other auction houses cannot I think that they will struggle. As I said at the beginning I wish those involved with Artemis auctions all the best and hope that they do find success.
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.