Rationalising Art Market Movements – artmarketblog.com
If you were to ask the art market where it was heading it would most likely say “I don’t know” and tell you to ask again at the beginning of next year. I don’t think that there is any doubt that an art market correction is well overdue and is desperately needed to sort the rational and justifiable from the irrational and unjustifiable. What this doesn’t mean is that the whole art market will head south but rather that the market is going through a stage of contextualisation and evaluation. The reason that the correction is so important is that prices for art have increased far too quickly which technically speaking would be referred to as over-inflated prices which basically means that works of art are currently overpriced. When value for money becomes an even more important factor, such as it has now due to the global financial crisis, then people tend to take much more notice of price versus value than when money was less of an issue.
The three things that will characterise the art market while the correction takes place are rarity, quality and desirability. By rarity I mean rarity in terms of scale, quality, subject, provenance, period and not so much the total number of works produced by an artist. For instance, Picasso produced many works but the work ‘Garcon a la pipe’ is considered to be rare because it is an early work, is one of only a few large works from the artist’s Rose period and was the only one to remain in private hands when it sold for a record $104 million in 2004. According to an article from the International Herald Tribune written by Souren Melikian in 2004 about ‘Garcon a la pipe’: “The huge figure reflects the double iconic value that the portrait derived from its mastery and from the aura of its owners, the very patrician Whitneys. The portrait is perhaps the artist’s ultimate achievement. Constantly hailed as the giant of modern art, Picasso was probably at his greatest when working under the spell of Old Masters. The rigorous composition, the color balance and the profound psychological probe of the young sitter place the likeness in a category that begins with Italian Renaissance portraitists and continues right through the 19th century with Corot and Degas.” (Record $104 million paid for Picasso painting)
To be continued…
image: Garçon à la Pipe (1905) by Pablo Picasso
**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