Archive for April 2009

THE ART MARKET, REDUX

Here’s what’s been going on in the Picasso market, in broad brushstrokes, and as I see it.  A number of collectors have sat on the sidelines while waiting for the art market to crash and compelling bargains to appear.  Well, many prices have come down, and there have been occasional bargains.  But the bottom hasn’t yet fallen out of the market.  Instead, the major change that has occurred has been on the seller’s side.  Sellers with whom I regularly jawbone have held their prices steady or have modestly reduced them, on the theory that it would be a mistake to let wonderful things go for nothing when the economy is sure to turn around. The effect of the market upon…

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IN THE FLESH

After talking with a prospective client yesterday, it occurred to me that he was nearing a decision between three or more Picasso linocuts and aquatints without the benefit of viewing any of them in the flesh.  And that, despite the fact that all or nearly all of the art was in the inventory of dealers (myself included) within several miles of his home.  Mulling this over after our conversation, I felt that I should encourage him, and, while I’m at it, the rest of you Picasso lovers and collectors out there to actually see the art.  It tends to be much more powerful when seen in person than when viewing photographs of it.  I shop at a distance all the…

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The Turnaround?

What, the Dow’s up a lousy 20% and suddenly everyone’s buying art again?  In the past investors usually behaved as if they consider art more as a hedge to the securities market, or so it has usually seemed to me.   (Of course for a collector, the investment potential of art is mostly a rationalization—we collectors know the main reason to acquire art is for love!)  I suppose the correct answer is both yes and no.  Art serves as an investment hedge up to a point, but when spending has frozen across the board in times of uncertainty such as these, then very little of anything gets sold.  Prior to last week, the Picasso print market had seemed to have lost…

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THE AUCTION RECORD: WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

When clients ask me to appraise their Picassos, I first explain that the auction record is a more useful guide for valuation than gallery prices. There are a number of reasons for this. A gallery can mark a piece up just as high as it wants, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the piece will sell at that list price, or that it will even sell at all. On the other hand, the auction record clearly represents the achieved price and reflects a market consensus as to the value of the work. Second, if you want to sell the work back to the gallery from which you bought it, you can be sure that the owner would want to pay…

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