the popularity of high impact, bright and shiny works of art that was evident during the playful and heady days of the art market boom when the global economic outlook was far more positive. Just a coincidence? I don’t think it is. To me it would make sense that people would purchase works of art that coincide with their state of mind and the emotions produced by the circumstance that they are in at the time.
There have been studies that show that different types of perfume are purchased according to the state of the economy. A recent article featured in the Financial Times ‘How to Spend it’ magazine mentioned that “floral fragrances – the safest, least challenging perfume category – have historically flourished in a recession”. In his book ‘Why Yesterday Tells of Tomorrow: How the long waves of the economy help us determine tomorrows trends’ of 2001, Helmut Gaus used womens fashion trends as an example of anxiety and functional anxiety-driven behaviour. According to the statistics compiled by Gaus, during periods of high anxiety women wear fewer patterns, darker colours, clothes with lower necklines and skirts that are longer. During periods of less anxiety women wear more patterns, brighter colours, clothes with higher necklines and skirts that are shorter. From these two sets of data it seems that during periods of high anxiety the less complicated, less flamboyant and less colourful become more popular and the reverse during periods of less anxiety when times are good. I see no reason why the art market shouldn’t experience a similar trend.
to be continued……….
**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