DH March 09 Aboriginal Art Auction Pt. 2 - australianartmarket.com Continuing on from my last post on Deutscher and Hackett’s inaugural Aboriginal art auction which took place on the 25th of March, things started off well with the first two lots achieving prices
a field of Australian art which has become the focus of worldwide interest. We have consigned for this auction a broad range of important works by leading indigenous artists. Works on offer are fresh to the market with emphasis on provenance and attractive pricing” Yes, the prices were attractive and yes, there was a broad range of works that were fresh to the market but these factors weren’t enough for buyers to justify spending considerable amounts of money. Buyers are willing to spend up to around $10,000 on works that are not particularly rare or significant but are wanting something concrete to be able to justify spending more than $20,000. If a work comes up for sale that is particularly special for whatever reason and represents an opportunity to purchase a work with particular characteristics that is unlikely to be repeated any time soon then deep pockets appear plentiful.
A sense of urgency is what is motivating buyers to part with significant amounts of money especially when it comes to the market for Aboriginal art which is somewhat saturated. Although the DH auction had a good range of quality works there were very few stand out examples that created this sense of urgency which I believe is part of the reason it failed to find success. Having a good number of rarer works spread throughout the auction helps create and maintain a buzz and provides encouragement for people to part with their money. Overall, Deutscher and Hackett were not really responsible for the less than positive result of their inaugural Aboriginal art auction. The market is hard to predict and difficult to rationlise at the moment especially considering that it is only the beginning of the year. The only two things that I would have done was change the date of the auction (not on the same night as the Menzies Art Brands auction) and include more rare and desirable works in the auction.
**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.