Bears and Bulls in the Art Market

Bears and Bulls in the Art Market

The terms bull market and bear market are common place in the world of investment and are typically used in reference to the stock market but can also be applied to the art market. For those that don’t know, a bull market is characterised by optimism, investor confidence and expectations that the strong results will continue where as a bear market is characterised by the opposite.




In order to gauge whether a market such as the art market is bull or bear you would need to survey a large sample of people who have a knowledge of, and insight into the art market. This is exactly what art market analyst Art Tactic ( did in May of 2006 with their Contemporary Art Market Confidence indicator which had risen from 87 points in November 2005 to 97 points in the first half of 2006. A rating of more than fifty signifies more positive than negative responses with a rating of 97 implying that at that time bulls outnumbered bears fourteen to one.


The survey included about 150 leading international contemporary art collectors, advisors, auction experts and dealers whose opinions were collated to provide the data. As the art market continues to expand the availability of market data and ratings such as this will become available allowing people to gauge more accurately how the market is doing. In turn this will lead to an even greater transparency of the market and a greater understanding of the art market as a whole adding to peoples confidence and acceptance of art as an investment.


Nick**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

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