A New Sentimental Art Market Era Pt. 4 -artmarketblog.com

A New Sentimental Art Market Era Pt. 4 -artmarketblog.com

It has been said before that nostalgia prospers during recessionary times so, considering that the western world has just begun to recover from a major recessionary period, it would make sense that the art market is trending towards a focus on the nostalgic and sentimental.  The length of time that this era of sentimentality and nostalgia will last is anyone’s guess, but given that the boom lasted longer than most expected, the recovery time for the contemporary sector of the market could be just as long – except that it probably won’t be.  It would be nice to be able to report that the saying ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ applies to the contemporary art market but, unfortunately, there are signs that the next puppets are already being groomed in preparation for the next inevitable contemporary cozenage.  The only question is how long it will take for the art market to once again become hypnotised by the glitz and glamour of the consumerist contemporary art regime.  In the mean time, it is great to see a level of intimacy, passion and involvement being brought back into the market that was conspicuously absent during the contemporary driven boom.

According to an article titled ‘Investors renew passion for modern masters’ ,which appeared in the Guardian newspaper, “When an alluring seated nude, La Belle Romaine, broke all records for a painting by the Italian artist Modigliani on Tuesday – selling for $69m (£42.7m) at auction in New York – the extraordinary price tag marked a historic moment in the art market. It shows that investors are turning back to the relative certainties of the modern masters and away from more risky contemporary art”.  This statement confirms that buyers are taking a much more cautious approach to the art market by buying works that they are more familiar with and have some sort of affinity with – a key characteristic of a sentimental art market era.  The care and thought that buyers are exhibiting when making purchases shows that they are seeking a much more intimate and passionate connection with the works of art that they are purchasing which is a trend that one would expect to see during a sentimental art market era.  Another key characteristic of this sentimental art market era is a sort of nationalistic sentimentalism that is likely to emerge as disillusioned collectors and investors who experienced the contemporary art market correction seek more genuine and justifiable reasons for purchasing works of art – reasons that provide a more fulfilling, intimate and involved art collecting experience as opposed to the cold and calculated commercialism that characterised the contemporary art market boom. Nationalistic sentimentalism can be defined as the purchase of works of art from one’s own country out of a sense of pride and sentimentality.

Both these characteristics allude to a market that is seeking a more intimate and involved connection with the works of art they are collecting or investing in.  I would expect that this trend will continue to develop throughout 2011 as the global art market attempts to heal the wounds that the emerging contemporary art market bubble inflicted.  This will be the last post on this topic for the time being unless any further corroborating indicators come to light.

**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

Portraits as Art Market Currency Pt. 6 – artmarketblog.com

Portraits as Art Market Currency Pt. 6 – artmarketblog.com

As the final post in this series I want to summarise my findings, but before I do I want to reiterate the reason that I wrote this series of posts on Portraits as Art Market Currency. The catalyst for this series of posts was, and still is, the continuing saga relating to the supposed instability of some of the world’s most significant economies. Economists and journalists have been making predictions for quite some time regarding the supposedly impending crisis that range from “the extent of the crisis is being grossly exaggerated” to “it is only a matter of time before we experience a catastrophic global financial crisis”. Even though opinions relating to the extent of the crisis vary greatly, it seems that a majority of experts believe that there is at least a significant chance that there will be a series of negative events relating to the economic status of some countries in the near future. Although it is unlikely that a complete global financial meltdown will take place, hypothesising on the effects that such an event would have on value of the art market reveals extremely interesting information regarding the way fine art is valued, and the way we assign value to art objects. This information is extremely useful for investors in fine art as it highlights the importance of having a strategy, and provides indications of how that strategy should be structured.

The reason I made the comparison between portraits and currency is because the way we assign value to currency can tell us a lot about the way we assign value to fine art. For several decades there has been heated debate surrounding the way currency is valued – a debate that stems from the global change to a fiat money system from a Gold Standard. To recap , the Gold Standard “was a commitment by participating countries to fix the prices of their domestic currencies in terms of a specified amount of gold” (US Library of Economics and Liberty). The benefit of the gold standard is that currency essentially had intrinsic value because it was basically able to be exchanged for a certain amount of gold. According to gold expert Paul Nathan in an article on Kitco.com “The intrinsic theory of value holds that worth or value is contained within an object. It holds that economic goods possess value inherently, innately, despite the market, despite supply and demand, i.e., in spite of men’s values, choices, and actions”. The Fiat money system, on the other hand, is currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, despite the fact that it has no intrinsic value and is not backed by reserves. Historically, most currencies were based on physical commodities such as gold or silver, but fiat money is based solely on faith. Because fiat money is not linked to physical reserves, it risks becoming worthless due to hyperinflation. If people lose faith in a nation’s paper currency, the money will no longer hold any value.

What I found particularly interesting when researching this topic is that the art market can essentially be divided into two different markets – one market that has similarities to the Gold Standard, and another market that has similarities to the fiat money system. Just like the fiat money system, the contemporary art market relies very much on faith in the artists whose work is being bought and sold. The value of the work of contemporary artists is dictated by the galleries who sell the work with buyers basically expected to have faith in the valuation set by the gallery. Just like with fiat currency, if people lose faith in a contemporary artist then their work is severely devalued, or even rendered worthless. The market for classical figurative works of art, on the other hand, resembles the gold standard because of the intrinsic value many of these works contain due to their physical characteristics and their status as historical documents. Regardless of what happens to the art market or to the reputation of the artist in question, such classical figurative works of art (portraits in particular) will always have significant technical, historical and documentary value; just as currency backed by gold will always have value regardless of what happens to the economy of the country whose currency is backed by the gold. When it comes to art investment and wealth preservation, the security and stability of the value placed on a work of art is extremely important. Although the glamorous world of contemporary art market speculation may seem to be the most popular and most viable method of profiting from the purchase and sale of art – fine art is, by the very nature of the art market, a long term investment. In fact, the benefits of investing in art can only really be taken advantage of when a long term approach is taken.

To finish with there are three important points that I want to emphasise:

1. the long term value of a work of art is linked to a certain degree to the extent to which one can disassociate the work of art from the artist, and the extent to which one can assign value to the actual characteristics of the art object as an independent entity.

2. the value that can be placed on portraits because of their status as historical documents is the sort of future proof intrinsic value that will always remain with the portrait and cannot be disassociated from the portrait. It is this sort of intrinsic value that makes the portrait a good candidate for use as currency.

3. when it comes to art investment and wealth preservation using fine art, it is possible to take a strategic and mathematical approach that virtually guarantees success over the long term. This sort of approach requires, however, require discipline, patience and objectivity.

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Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

**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

Wyeth and Rosseau at Brunk Auctions – artmarketblog.com

Wyeth and Rosseau at Brunk Auctions – artmarketblog.com

Courtesy Brunk Auctions:

Auction to take place on September 11-12, 2010

Few painters loved hunting dogs more than classically trained American artist Percival Rosseau (1859-1937). “A man should paint what he knows best and I know more about animals than anything else,” he said. Rosseau’s benefactor, industrialist Samuel G. Allen
(1870-1956), shared his affection for hunting dogs. He helped found the Amateur Field Trials Clubs of America (1917) and the English Spaniel Field Trial Association (1922). Two of the Rosseau paintings in the sale are of Allen’s spaniels: A Tripple (sic) Point: Bob, Prince and Ned 1924 and End of a Perfect Day, Allen’s Flag and Queen 1923. Each carries a pre-sale estimate of $40,000/$60,000. Samuel Allen owned at least five Rosseau paintings; Perfect Day was one of them and there is a possibility that Allen also owned Tripple Point.

Rosseau immortalized Samuel Allen’s dogs. Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) did the same for the people he knew and loved. “I’m involved with the people I paint,” he once said. “They are not people I paint and send home.” The sportsmen who posed for Wyeth’s Shore Pine 1939 were his life-long friends, Milton Teel and Maine fisherman Walt Anderson. The scene is Turkey Cove, an inlet near Port Clyde, Maine. The 22 ½ inch by 30 inch watercolor over pencil on paper (est. $60,000/$90,000) was sold by Macbeth Gallery in New York in 1940 and given to the consignor in 1955. Walt Anderson also posed for Wyeth’s Sea Dog, a portrait of the red-bearded old salt owned by the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Lot 0322 Andrew Wyeth (Pennsylvania/Maine, 1917-2009), "Shore Pine, © 1939",

Andrew Wyeth is one of America’s most popular painters. His Shore Pine,
1939 depicts two of his many friends in a skiff on Turkey Cove, Maine. Signed lower left “Andrew Wyeth” the 22 ½ inch by 30 inch watercolor is expected to bring $60,000 to $90,000.

Lot 0317
Percival Leonard Rosseau
(Louisiana/Connecticut/Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1859-1937), “A Tripple [sic] Point; Bob, Prince and Ned, 1924”, signed lower right “Rosseau 1924” and signed and titled verso, oil on canvas, publishing rights label verso for Brown & Bigelow “Subject Number 1312”, 26-1/8 x 38-1/8 in., original wood shallow-cove frame, draw crackle, fiberboard between canvas and stretcher, crackle, flaking top left, abrasions at edges, canvas loose, grime, retouch in areas of draw crackle mainly located in background; frame with popped corners, abrasions
Possibly Samuel Allen, Denton, North Carolina; Brown & Bigelow, New York (label verso); Private Collection, North Carolina
Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000
Reserve: $35,000

Lot 0318
Percival Leonard Rosseau
(Louisiana/Connecticut/North Carolina, 1859-1937), “End of a Perfect Day, Allen’s Flag and Queen, 1923”, signed lower right “Rosseau/1923”, title, notes and date inscribed by the artist verso, oil on canvas, 26-3/8 x 50 in., original carved and giltwood frame,
original stretcher and tacking edge, crackle, cupping, points of abrasion, points of retouch in sky and at draw crackle, card between canvas and stretcher (by artist), recently cleaned.
Acquired from artist by Samuel G. Allen; owner of the dogs; by descent to the consigner.
Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000
Reserve: $40,000

Lot 0319
Percival Leonard Rosseau
(Louisiana/Connecticut/Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1859-1937), “Stylish Work”, signed lower left “Rosseau 1923”, dated, inscribed and titled verso card, oil on canvas, 9-1/4 x 23 in., original gilt wood frame with glass,
good condition, card between canvas and stretcher; frame with chips and losses to corners
Arthur Ackermann & Son, Inc., New York (label verso); Private Collection, North Carolina
Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000

Lot 0322
Andrew Wyeth
(Pennsylvania/Maine, 1917-2009), “Shore Pine, © 1939”, signed lower left “Andrew Wyeth” and stamped verso with reference number “A667”, watercolor over pencil on Arches paper, 22-1/2 x 30 in. (page), modern gilt wood frame,
hinged in, paper tape and adhesive residue verso all edges with toning through to front approximately 3/4 in.
Macbeth Gallery, New York, 1940; by gift to consignor, 1955
Estimate: $60,000 – $90,000
Reserve: $60,000

For more information, contact Jerry Israel (telephone: 828-254-6846 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              828-254-6846      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              828-254-6846      end_of_the_skype_highlighting) at Brunk Auctions,
Asheville, North Carolina