Art Market Blog – Don’t Panic, The Art Market is OK !!!

Art Market Blog – Don’t Panic, The Art Market is OK !!! 

emptypockets.jpgUnless you’ve been unconscious for the past few weeks you should all be aware of the major stock market fluctuations that have been dominating the finance headlines. Any sort of economic or financial rift is going to cause people to make speculations and predictions about how the art market will react, and this time has been no different. These wild stock market fluctuations are indications that there is a lack of confidence in the stock market which means that people have begun to question whether the prices being reached and the state of the market is justified and This lack of confidence was obviously not severe enough to prompt a major panic because no sooner had the market dropped considerably than it bounced back again.

Because the drops in the stock market have so far been short lived the art market has not had time to react and, unless the stock market sustains a more long term drop or experiences more long term turbulence, may not react at all. Unlike stocks, art cannot be traded quickly so any reaction to other financial markets takes a certain amount of time to take place, at least six months according to the figures. The first sign of problems with the art market would have to be related to the sale of art at auction since auctions are regular events that sell large amounts of artwork in one sale thus giving an indication of how whether the number of people buying art has dropped or whether the price people are willing to pay has dropper. I would like to emphasise that one bad auction is not enough of an indication that the art market is slipping because there are other factors that could cause an art auction to not be as successful as was predicted. One also needs to remember that the art auction season has not really got into full swing as yet which means that the full effect of the stock market fluctuations on the sale of art cannot be assessed properly. The current lack of art auctions also means that there are less opportunities for people to sell their art should they loose their confidence in the art market thus emphasising the importance of timing in people’s

So what does all this mean I hear you ask, well, short term turbulence in the stock market is unlikely to have any effect on the art market especially at this time of year but if the turbulence continues people may begin to panic and question the long term viability and stability of their investment portfolios. Having said this it is also important to remember that if the art market experienced a major drop in the prices being paid for artworks then there would most likely be a sudden wave of buyers coming onto the market hunting for bargains and taking advantage of the lower prices thus pushing the price of art back up again. This scenario is especially relevant in the current market because of the large amount of foreign wealth that may not be affected by problems with the financial markets in the world’s major economies.

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 Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

6 Responses

  1. […] Here’s another interesting post I read today by shevau […]

  2. I haven’t commented in a while so I thought I would jump back in! I am almost in complete agreement with you Nick. I think it should be emphasized that it is not only the stock market but the general economy as well that is important to watch. I imagine any ordinary potential art buyer who is employed by a financial institution is thinking twice about making another high-end purchase of art. This loss of buyers could hurt somewhat, however I do think that international buyers are there to somewhat replace these lost consumers. Also, some people have so much money that if prices do fall, as you said they will be like a vulture to swoop in and acquire works.

  3. I do think it is possible that some trendy (and consequently overvalued) yet not fully established artists may lose their flavor if the US does indeed enter into a recession…examples that come to mind are Peter Doig, Frank Auerbach, Glenn Brown, possibly even Cecily Brown? (although I do love her work). Also you have to wonder if artists like Jeff Koons will retain their value in the open market. Sure he is featured in a lot of prominent collections but watching Gagosian reportedly heavily bid on his own artist a few months ago is something to keep an eye on.

  4. Thanks for your clear analysis, Nicholas

  5. Auctions show high prices on fine art! The “masters” category of art works have skyrocketed in values and auction prices. This trend will effect lesser known artists producing same/similar work, thus increasing the market overall in fine art. There is a renewed interest in art due to internet. Now my gallery of 35+ years, “Thee Art Gallery”, has gone online at to decrease expenses while increasing client and patron basees, thus “advantaging” the trend toward increased sales. The internet is now the best marketing tool available to artists! Thee Art Gallery at by Monty Ousley Weddell Dallas, TX

  6. The internet has definitely changed the landscape of the art market forever and has given many young artists a chance to shine that they otherwise would not have had.

    Nicholas Forrest

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