News-Antique.com - Apr 24,2011 - Towards a False Art Market Globalisation pt. 2 – artmarketblog.com
Artprice.com has record of a total of 581 works by Hannah Hoch going to auction. Of those 581, about 97% were sold in Germany where works by Hoch appear at auction on a regular basis. What doesn’t appear in Germany are the sort of auction records that suggest frenzied and competitive bidding for works by Hoch. In fact, the auction records for works by Hoch sold in Germany are much more stable than those from outside Germany and are much more consistent with the sort of low estimates that were given to most of the estimate busting works mentioned above. Looking at the top fifteen prices paid for works by Hannach Hoch sold at auction also suggests a discrepancy with ten out of the ten fifteen prices occurring in either London or New York. Of the remaining five top fifteen prices, two were achieved in Switzerland and three in Germany. Even more compelling is the fact that out of the 581 works by Hoch sold at auction, only 34 fetched more than 10,000 euros, and only 68 fetched more than 5000 euros.
So what does all this mean? Well, to recap, very few works by Hannah Hoch appear at auction outside of Germany but works by Hoch do appear at auction in Germany quite regularly. Those that do appear at auction outside of Germany tend to end up at major auctions in either London or New York where the prices achieved tend to eclipse the given estimate as well as the prices paid for works that are sold in Germany. If the works sold in New York and London were of greater importance than those sold in Germany there would be a partial explanation for this trend, however, if the works being sold in New York and London were more important they would undoubtedly have been given higher estimates to begin with. Interestingly, though, the works that did achieve the really high prices were from the early years of Hoch’s career – around 1919-1925. This suggests that perhaps there is a different perception of Hoch’s early works in English speaking Western markets such as London and New York than in her native Germany where works from Hoch’s early years sell for relatively small sums of money. The discrepancies, inconsistencies and trends that I have mentioned above all suggest that the art market is not as globalised as we may think – especially when it comes to notions of value. Although information regarding the art market and access to fine art has become a much more global affair, our understanding and appreciation of the way fine art is valued is far from being globally uniform. My question to you is: How global do you really think the art market is, and what would the definition of a “global” art market be?