The 2010 Art Market Review –

The 2010 Art Market Review –

2010 has been one of the most confusing, unpredictable and unexplainable years for me as an art market analyst. So many of the trends, events and fads that emerged during 2010 did not appear to be caused by the sort of conditions, have the same effects, or follow the same path of logic that one would expect they would given the way things have panned out in past years. This leaves me with no doubt that the art market is evolving at such a rapid pace that there is little point trying to justify or explain the events of today using logic that is based on the progression and events of previous years. In fact, more of the art market events that took place during 2010 appeared to defy logic than ever before. I do, however, strongly believe that one of the reasons that it has become even more difficult to determine what is going on with the art market is that the art market (auction houses in particular) has become adept at making the situation appear much better than it really is. Whether it be by skewing figures or manipulating the way results are perceived – galleries, fairs and auction houses have become the plastic surgeons of the art world.

What has also made 2010 such a hard year to analyse was the contraction, and slow regeneration, of the market for the work of trendy emerging artists and recent works by top contemporary artists – both of which are usually the most global, visible and publicised sectors of the market. As the market moves towards the work of artists with a proven track record, collectors and investors have shifted their focus from the usually dominant and globally relevant contemporary art market to the work of artists from a wide of variety of styles, mediums and movements that cannot appear to have very little in common. This has resulted in a situation where there is not one dominant global trend that art market analysts such as myself can focus on, but a number of smaller and disjointed trends that make reading the market particularly difficult.

A few months ago I wrote a series of posts on what I believed was a move towards a more sentimental art market, which appears to be exactly the direction that the market has headed. General disillusionment with the contemporary art market has sent many collectors and investors take a more sentimental approach to fine art that is characterised by a focus on the safety of more established artists and the familiarity of artists that they can relate to. When art collectors or investors seek safety and familiarity they are most likely to gravitate towards works by artists from the era and culture that they have the greatest connection to. This would explain the large number of seemingly unrelated trends that emerged during 2010 many of which involved previously unfashionable styles and movements that are distinctly associated with a particular era or culture.

There is no doubt that the art market has recovered far quicker than many people thought possible. Again, the unexpectedly rapid recovery has thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to analysing the art market and trying to make sense of what is going on. Some journalists and analysts have gone as far as to admit that they cannot explain how a market that seemed to be at breaking point could make such a rapid recovery. To give you an idea of how quickly the art market has recovered, in March of this year (2010) Walter Robinson, editor of Artnet Magazine, said that “Art Market Watch has been on something of a hiatus during the last few months. What with the recession, reporting on auction results just isn’t as compelling as it was during the boom years”. Six weeks later a painting by Picasso become the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction when it fetched a staggering $106.5 million. A week after that an Andy Warhol self portrait sold at Sotheby’s for $32.6 million (more than twice the estimate) setting a new record for a Warhol self portrait at auction. Compelling enough?

When it comes to rationalising art market events there is much to be gained from knowing who has money to spend and how much they have to spend. The top end of the market is fuelled by super wealthy collectors whose level of wealth would not have been affected enough by the financial crisis to deter them from buying art. Therefore at the high end of the art market things have been pretty solid as is evident from the number of record auction prices set in 2010. The lower end of the market is fuelled by collectors who focus on edgy and trendy contemporary art by emerging and newly established artists, and who will usually have a high level of interest in the cultural and artistic side of fine art. Collectors at the lower end of the market are a very determined group who are always going to be around even if they appear a little less active at times. Things at the lower end have improved but have done so at a less than rapid pace which makes it difficult to judge where this sector of the market is heading. Without a doubt the sector of the art market that has suffered for the longest period of time due to the effects of the global financial crisis and the art market downturn is the middle market. The middle market includes lesser works by big name artists, and the more expensive (less justifiable) works by the trendy contemporary artists, which makes the middle market a sort of currently un-necessary compromise for the super rich, and a stretch too far for the modestly well off. Middle market works are, however, perfect for the financial advisor and hedge fund manager types who are more interested in art as a status symbol than the quality or art historical importance of the works they are buying. With the pay packets of hedge fund managers and financial advisors taking a massive hit due to the financial crisis, there is little interest in the middle market works. The super rich are still rich enough to not have to compromise and settle for middle market works and the modestly well off continue to fuel the lower end of the market.
My next post will be the top ten art market 2010 so stay tuned……..

**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

How to Avoid Dirty Art Auction Tricks –

How to Avoid Dirty Art Auction Tricks –

Having focused my last few posts on the issues surrounding the questionable practices of some art auction houses, I thought it important to let people know how they can avoid becoming a victim of dirty art auction tricks and tactics. The only real way to avoid becoming a victim of the art auction houses is to ask questions and to know which questions to ask.  Below is a list of questions, and the reasoning behind each question, that will ensure that you know exactly where you stand.

Seven questions every buyer should ask before bidding on a work of art:

1.       Does the auction house or anyone associated with the auction house have an ownership interest in the work of art I am thinking of purchasing?

(The reason you should ask this question is that if an auction house has an ownership interest in a work of art you should question whether this would have an effect on the way the auction house markets and presents the work of art in question – as well as the final price.  Auction houses are required to indicate in auction catalogues when they have an ownership interest in a work of art.)

2.       Is the auction house employee who is advising me on my purchases also representing the seller of the works they are advising me on?

(The reason you should ask this question is that it is not unknown for a specialist assigned to a particular client as an advisor to be representing the seller of the works they are advising the buyer to purchase.  If you are assigned an expert advisor by an auction house make sure they are not representing the seller of the particular works you are interested in.)

3.       Is there any doubt regarding the authenticity or provenance of the works of art I am interested in purchasing?

(The reason you need to ask this question is that auction houses are not always forthcoming with information regarding authenticity.  It is worth while making sure that you are getting what you are paying for.)

4.       Who has authenticated the works of art I am interested in purchasing, what qualifications do they have and what evidence was the authentication based on?

(The reason you need to ask this question is that auction houses have been known to justify the attribution they make using less than reliable information.)

5.       When were the works of art I am interested in purchasing last consigned to an auction and what was the result?

(The reason that you should ask this question is that auction houses are not always forthcoming with information regarding the consignment history of a work of art.  Auction houses have been known to sell the same work of art a number of times within a short period of time and not disclose this information to buyers.  It is important to know this information as it is likely there is reason that this has occurred.  It is also important to know this information because a work of art being passed in at auction can gain a stigma that can reduce the value.)

6.       Does the auction house allow the auctioneer to bid in his own sale?

(It should be obvious why one needs to ask this question, and yes, some auction houses to allow the auctioneer to bid on their own sale.)

7.       What is the condition of the works of art I am interested in purchasing and has a condition report been completed on each work?

(Auction houses are not always forthcoming with information regarding the condition of a work of art. It is generally expected that buyers will inspect a work of art themselves and will be aware of the condition of the work of art.  If you are not able to assess the condition of a work of art then hire an expert.)

**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

What Art Investors Can Learn from Gold Investors Pt. 5 –

What Art Investors Can Learn from Gold Investors Pt. 5 –

The reason that I finished my last post with a description of a possible economic and financial doomsday like scenario is because such an event would really expose how secure and how safe the various different methods of wealth creation and wealth preservation are. A large majority of the vehicles of wealth creation that we choose to invest our money are dependent on the continued stability of the cultural, social, monetary and economic systems that are currently in place (ie. share market, money market, bond market, currency market etc.). One of the most vulnerable stores of wealth that pretty much everyone has positions in is fiat currency, better known as money. The definition of a fiat currency is: state-issued money which is neither legally convertible to any other thing, nor fixed in value in terms of any objective standard. These days most national currencies are fiat currencies including the US dollar, the Euro and the UK Pound, which makes the currency of most countries very vulnerable. Not only would a currency collapse have a devastating effect on the price of goods, it would also cause any positions in an investment vehicle that is only redeemable in a fiat currency, and is not a tradeable commodity (ie. stock market, bond market etc.), to essentially become as valueless as the currency that the investment relies on. The 0nly way to protect one’s self from total devastation in the event of a currency collapse is to have physical positions in a tradeable commodity such as gold. Gold is an asset with inherent value that is also a tradeable commodity. According to an article in Time magazine: “Gold, then, can be considered a currency, unique in that it is not directly tied to any country’s economy. With a global recession that is bound to continue to shake up the purchasing power of all foreign currencies, gold is safer from political and economic instability than cash.”

So where does art fit in to all this?. As we all know, a major financial or economic crisis (or even a little one for that matter) can have a major negative effect on the art market, especially the speculative contemporary art market. Because the perceived investment potential of contemporary art relies heavily on the progression of the artist’s career, which in turn relies on the continued stability of the cultural, social, monetary and economic systems that are currently in place (like the share market), contemporary art is likely to be devalued to a much greater extent in the event of a major economic than the work of the old masters or the impressionists. According to Jim Morris of art and antiques firm Corfield Morris: ‘buyers of contemporary art may be disappointed with returns. He defines contemporary art as works produced by artists who are still alive. “The problem with buying contemporary works is that many of the artists don’t have track records,” said Morris. “I’m afraid an awful lot of it is not going to stand the test of time.”’ Contemporary art is therefore a very risky investment and is not a good store of wealth; contemporary art is essentially the fiat currency of the art world. The work of the Old Masters, the Impressionists and many of the modern masters are, however, a different story. As well as already having a market track record and an already established legacy, the work of the Old Masters, the Impressionists and many of the modern masters have the benefit of having been endowed with some or all of the inherent characteristics that have a quantifiable and qualifiable intrinsic value such as subject matter, style, technical complexity, historical documentation, artistic proficiency, etc. Although some people may disagree that art can have intrinsic value, I believe that the work of certain movements or periods can. Regardless of whether or not you agree that art can have inherent properties of intrinsic value, the fact remains that if the work of the Old Masters did not have intrinsic value, then the art objects would not have any value independent of any and all other factors, which they do. If a work of art in the style of an old master were to be sold as the work of an unknown artist from an unknown period and without any provenance, the art object would still have value even without all other associations and therefore must have intrinsic value. The reason that these inherent properties have a quantifiable and qualifiable value in the case of the work of the Old masters, the Impressionists and many of the modern masters is that there are usually other similar works with which one can make comparisons and judgements and thus determine the value of these inherent properties in relation to another similar work. Particularly in the case of the Old Masters there are often artistic and technical standards that can also assist in the valuation of the inherent physical characteristics of a work.

To be continued…….

Part 4:

Part 3:

Part 2:

Part 1:

**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

The Spectacle of the Art Market Part 3 –

The Spectacle of the Art Market Part 3 –

Natalya Goncharova's Linen

I am sure that many of you would agree that it has become the norm for people to approach fine art as consumers instead of as scholars or connoisseurs. If you were to ask me whether there is anything wrong with this I would say that there definitely is. Don’t get me wrong, I am obviously a strong supporter of the art market, but also recognise the need for a balance between the commercial and the cultural. Without that balance the art market becomes unstable and the art world becomes too closely connected to the art market. Whether you realise it or not, the art market requires a certain level of “infiltration” by scholars and connoisseurs. It is the scholars and connoisseurs who add value to works of art by generating information and knowledge that make works of art historically and culturally more significant. It is this information that is generated by scholars and connoisseurs that we should be using to justify the dollar value of a work of art because this information is usually based on intrinsic characteristics of the work of art that cannot be disassociated from the work of art or become obsolete, and therefore encourage more stable long term values. The contemporary art market, on the other hand, often relies on factors that have very little to do with the work of art its self such as social status, economic status, popular trends and financial gain. These factors can become obsolete very quickly which usually means that the dollar value that these factors generated also disappears causing the sort of correction that we have just experienced.

In February of 2008 Nicholas Penny, the curator of the British National Gallery, made a statement that he was going to put an end to the gallery’s blockbuster exhibition days. According to an article in the Guardian Newspaper, Penny said “The responsibility of a major gallery is to show people something they haven’t seen before. A major national institution should be one that proves a constant attraction to the public. What is important is encouraging historical and visual curiosity in the general public.” Ralph T. Coe, the former director of the Nelson Gallery-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Mo., a former president of the American Association of Art Museum Directors and a former chairman of the Museum Committee of the National Endowment for the Arts, put the problem in even simpler terms when he said: “One of the saddest things museum connoisseurs like me have had to observe is the substitution of entertainment values for the intrinsic values incarnate in great works of art that alone can confer aesthetic authenticity.” This problem of the substitution of entertainment values (the spectacle) for intrinsic values that the cultural sector is experiencing is also a big problem for the art market as I have shown above. We need to stop the spectacularisation of the contemporary art market if we want to have a more culturally and historically significant period of art production. I believe that we need to be asking the following question on a far more regular basis: in one hundred years time will this work be able to be exhibited in a museum, and will people consider the work to be culturally significant and be historically important?

**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

The Spectacle of the Art Market Pt. 1 –

The Spectacle of the Art Market Pt. 1 –

One of the interesting trends that has been particularly noticable during the recent current art market correction is that works that have less visual impact and are not as flamboyant are experiencing competitive bidding and high prices. Works of art that would perhaps have been overshadowed by their more visually stunning siblings are now coming to the forefront as collectors and connoisseurs approach what is on offer from a more scholarly, connoisseurial and art historical perspective. I also believe that the more sombre mood caused by the financial crisis has made people less likely to purchase overtly cheerful works of art and more likely to obtain objects that reflect the more philosophical and reflective mood that many people are currently experiencing.

When the global economy has gone to the dogs, and a large number of people are in a financially difficult position, the purchase of those shiny works of art that are typically seen as status symbols and flamboyantly excessive trophies of one’s wealth just doesn’t seem right. One may expect the opposite situation to arise where people purchase bright and cheerful works of art to make themselves happier, but this just doesn’t seem to be what happens. It seems that it is extremely difficult to justify the purchase of one of many of these “bright and shiny” trophies when one’s financial situation comes into question, which suggests that the purchase of such a work would be a bad investment (as we know so many of them are).

The contemporary art market tends to rely on immediate visual impact and instant gratification to entice people to get out their wallets. With so many artists vying for the attention and patronage of a relatively small number of collectors and investors it is not surprising that the visual impact and attractiveness of an artist’s work becomes such an important factor. The Frieze art fair is a good example of the way an artist’s work looks can have a major effect on its ability to get noticed. Not unlike a supermarket, the Frieze art fair is filled with aisle after aisle of products vying for the attention of the waves of shoppers that pass by. The dizzying array of goods on offer means that it is very easy for a particular atist’s work to get lost in the crowd. And many do. In such an environment it is undoubtedly beneficial for an artist to present their most high impact and visually stunning work as anyone who has visited a fair such as Frieze would know.

To suggest that the path that the art market can be affected to such a degree by the instinctual human attraction to bright shiny objects may sound bizarre at first but if you take some time to ponder the concept I think you will find it is not as silly as it may seem.

To be continued……….

**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

Christmas Gifts for Art Lovers 09 –

Christmas Gifts for Art Lovers 09 –

Limited Edition Photo by Youngsuk Suh from Humble Arts

Limited edition print from Humble Arts
Youngsuk Suh
Boating, Idaho, 2009, from Instant Traveler
Archival Pigment Print on Rag Paper, 16 x 20 in.
Signed and numbered, Special Edition of 3
Buy Here:

The Great Contemporary Art Bubble DVD by Ben Lewis
Art critic and film-maker Ben Lewis spent 2008 following the contemporary art market; travelling to art fairs, auctions, museums and the offices and homes of billionaire art collectors. He spoke to dealers, auctioneers, gallery-owners, art market analysts and art collectors trying to find out the reasons behind the greatest rise in the value of art in history.
Buy Here:

Adopt a painting with the Fine Art Adoption Network
FAAN is an online network, which uses a gift economy to connect artists and potential collectors. All of the artworks on view are available for adoption. This means acquiring an artwork without purchasing it, through an arrangement between the artist and collector.
More info here:

John Baldessari edition from Parkett Art
Edition for Parkett 86
Raised Eyebrows / Furrowed Foreheads: Crooked Made Straight, 2009
9-color silkscreen print (front and back) on Plexiglas, 5 x 12 x 1/8″ (12,5 x 31 x 0,4 cm), printed by Atelier für Siebdruck, Lorenz Boegli, Zurich, Ed. 45/XX, signed and numbered certificate
$ 2400.00
Euro 1700.00
Buy Here:

Baldessari Print

Teacup by Robert Lazzarini
Designed to be viewed from all angles, Teacup becomes a visual anomaly placed among everyday items, evoking a melancholic, otherworldly quality. Although challenging to drink from, it can be used.
$200.00 Members
Buy here:

Gift membership for The Fine Art Fund (UK)
Art Fund membership is the perfect present for an art-lover. With benefits including 50% off tickets to exhibitions as well as free entry to over 200 fascinating art collections, historic houses and beautiful gardens, you’ll be giving the gift of hundreds of enjoyable days out.
Single membership: 33 pounds
buy here:

Limited Edition t-shirt from Common Threads
Looking for a great present idea? Look no further! We have a very unique, cool and unusual gifts for you to give to loved ones. A tremendous amount of care goes into each t-shirt, rendering unique hemlines, detailed stitching, and precise cuts and a unique birthday gift for him or her. All our products are garment washed, yielding super-soft fabrics with a vintage feel. Our lightweight, fine gauge and innovative fabrications are combined with sleek, modern silhouettes, and the result is a collection of apparel as unique as the individuals wearing them. In addition, all of our designs are donated from leading artists and we print only 250 of each design. Given the fact that we give a school uniform to a child in need as well, it’s $38 well spent.
Buy Here:

Art and Auction magazine subscription
Subscribe to Art and Auction magazine and give a gift subsctiption free or treat yourself to two years for the price of one,
simply fill-in your name and address twice.
Buy here:

Childrens Felt Wall Clock from etsy
Beautiful, stylish and trendy felt clock for Child’s Bedroom or Nursery Wall designed to give kids another fun point of interest in their rooms.
The color of your choice.
Handcrafted, made of felt and measures 9.5-inch diam.
Requires 1 AA battery
Buy here:

Gold and Tourmaline Ring by B. Weckstrom for Lapponia,1974

Limited Edition Photo from Troika Editions
The artworks on this site are our recommendations and they are not available anywhere else. Every artwork will be offered in the same three sizes, small, medium and large; in the same three edition runs of 300, 30 and 3; at the same price points £35, £350 and £3500. All you have to do is decide which one you like.
Buy Here:

Artist iPhone Skin from Infectious
Paulo explains about his Firefox artwork: “the organic forms express interaction and connection. The hairy, fox-like elements are symbolic of nature’s speed. The hands and feet convey the need to reach everywhere and the eyes are like mirrors that reflect the global interaction, being in one place but connected to anywhere”.
iPhone Skins
Buy Here:

Wearable Art from and

Finland c1970
Price: $1,850
Buy Here:

Art:21 – Art in the Twenty First Century 5 (Hardcover)
Mirroring the unique strengths of the Peabody Award winning television series broadcast on PBS, Art:21 Art in the Twenty-First Century 5 presents 14 contemporary artists speaking directly and in their own words. The artists’ reflections on their processes and inspirations are juxtaposed dynamically with lush, full-color images of their work. The book also includes an introductory essay by Susan Sollins as well as artist biographies and production stills from the series. The artists featured, include Cao Fei, Mary Heilmann, Jeff Koons, Florian Maier-Aichen, William Kentridge, Doris Salcedo, Carrie Mae Weems, John Baldessari, Kimsooja, Allan McCollum, Julie Mehretu, Paul McCarthy, Cindy Sherman, and Yinka Shonibare MBE.
Buy Here:

**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

Greek Art Reaches Giddy Heights at Bonhams –

Greek Art Reaches Giddy Heights at Bonhams –


Lot No: 23 Spyros Papaloukas (Greek, 1892-1957) Mt. Athos, skete of the Three Hierarchs and the Holy Trinity signed in Greek (lower right) oil on cardboard 54 x 50 cm. Sold for £168,000 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Bonhams UK have been promoting themselves as the gods of Greek art for quite a while now and have claimed market dominance in the UK when it comes to selling Greek art on more than one occasion.  I am not entirely sure what brought about Bonhams’ fascination with Greek art, but whoever is responsible for the assault on this region should be congratulated for what has proven to be, and continues to be, a shrewd move for Bonhams.  Bonham’s most recent sale of Greek art held on the 10th of November was a good indication that the market for Greek art is extremely buoyant and also that Bonhams continue to maintain a dominant position in what is a competitive niche.  A total of £3.5 million worth of art was sold and a number of significant prices were achieved including:

– Spyros Papaloukas (Greek, 1892-1957) ‘Mt. Athos, skete of the Three Hierarchs and the Holy Trinity’ which sold for £168,000 (auction record for artist) inclusive of Buyer’s Premium

– Constantinos Maleas (Greek, 1879-1928) ‘Acropolis / Acropole vue entre des pins et aloès’ which sold for £311,200 (2nd highest price achieved at auction for artist) inclusive of Buyer’s Premium

-Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika (Greek, 1906-1994) ‘Calligraphy of a town’ which sold for £264,000 (3rd highest price achieved at auction for artist) inclusive of Buyer’s Premium

As a side note I am hesitant to refer to 2nd and 3rd highest auction prices for an artist as ‘world records’ as Bonhams have done and consider the practice of doing so to be dishonest.  Is the 20th highest auction price for an artist a world record too?  Bonhams went as far as to list the fifth highest auction price for an artist as a ‘world record’ which I think is rather cheeky. Anyway, back to the action.

Bohnams have a good record with the Greek art auctions that are held in the UK. In November of 2008, Bonhams’ sale of Greek art held at their Bond St. Saleroom brought in a total of 3.8 million pounds and resulted in fourteen artists’ auction records being broken.  According to Bonhams, a large majority of the buyers were Greek.  Moving on to May 2008 and once again Bonhams made headlines with their Greek art sale when they managed to shift 3.6 million pounds worth of art with and sell a record 90% lots offered.  Bonhams also reported 17 new world record prices which, as per above, should be taken with a grain of salt.

The Greek art market is quite unique because of the history of Greek art which basically revolved around the creation of religious icons until the start of the 19th century due to the fact that Greece was essentially shielded from the Renaissance by the ruling Ottoman empire .  “Modern” art is therefore a relatively new concept to the Greeks and represented a relatively untapped market that the three major auction houses were quick to take advantage of.  There are several reasons that the opportunity to dominate the market for Greek art became available to an organisation outside of Greece.   The main reason is that  much like the Indian art market, the Greek art market is relatively un-regulated and there is also a severe lack of infrastructure relating to authenticity, valuation and art market expertise that would be required to support the development of a free market in Greece.  An opportunity was therfore available to an international organisation that could supply what the Greek art market lacked and to satisfy the needs of those rich Greeks who have a passion for art.

Although the market for Greek art has proven to be very strong even during the recent financial crisis, investors and collectors should be extremely wary of the hype surrounding Greek art and should be extremely cautious with their purchases.  My reason for suggesting caution is that the Greek art world lacks the cultural sector infrastructure that is so important to the long term stability of an art market and the buoyancy of the prices being paid for the work of that market’s artists.  The contemporary Indian art market has suffered during the financial crisis due to the same lack of infrastructure that the Greek art market suffers from.  Greek art, especially the work of contemporary artists, has plenty of potential for investors but is also fraught with potential traps and problems that could have a major effect on the price of the work of many artists.

Although Bonham’s quip that “Interest in Greek art is more than just a myth at Bonhams 15th Greek Sale” does ring true, the market for Greek art is in it’s infancy and is at a relatively high risk of becoming a very fragile bubble that could easily be burst.  Investors and collectors should be particularly concerned about authenticity and future value until a more advanced cultural and market infrastructure is in place.

**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

Web-Based Fine and Decorative Arts Personal Shopper Service Goes Live at

I have been keeping you all in suspense for quite a while in relation to the big new project I have been working on over the last year. Finally I can announce the details of the project which you can see below:

Nic Forrest –

For Immediate Release

Web-Based Fine and Decorative Arts Personal Shopper Service Goes Live at

Sourcing Items of Fine and Decorative Art Made Easy with Launch of Innovative Global Online Personal Shopper Service for Discerning Interior Decorators

London, November 6, 2009 — is the home of a new global web-based fine and decorative arts personal shopper service that provides discerning interior decorators and designers with a simple and effective solution to the difficulties associated with sourcing specific items of fine and decorative art.  The often frustrating task of locating hard-to-find interior pieces can now become an enjoyable experience, with access to the expertise and extensive global network of Nicholas Forrest — a Sydney and London based broker of fine objects, interior style consultant and world renowned art adviser/art critic — now one click away.

Nic adds: “By launching I am able to offer personal one-on-one assistance to anyone, anywhere in the world who wishes to be united with those special objects that transform interior spaces into special places.  From interior designers who require a collection of fine objects to decorate a large commercial space, to discerning private clients who are searching for one or more special items to enhance a living space, can cater to the needs of clients at all levels.”

As well as sourcing fine objects, Nic also offers several other services via  The range of services Nic provides includes:

–  Sourcing and purchasing specific fine objects (fine art, antiques, objects of design, objets d’art etc.) for residential and commercial clients

–  Arranging worldwide transportation and installation of objects purchased

–  Interior styling advice for clients who have a vision and a budget but do not have specific objects in mind

–  Advice on the acquisition of works of art/antiques/objets d’art for private and corporate collections as well as for investment purposes

Whether it is an antique or a piece of contemporary design that someone is searching for , combines the services of a personal shopper with the knowledge and contacts of a professional broker of fine objects to provide an unrivalled service.  Nic explains:  “Because of the experience, knowledge and contacts I have acquired, and my standing in the art and antiques industry, I have the privilege of being in a position that enables me to utilise a global network of dealers, collectors, retailers and wholesalers to quickly locate the particular object/s that clients have been searching for at the best price.”

For further information, please contact:
Nic Forrest

Tel:  0787 869 7651 (UK)

Tel: +44 (0)787 869 7651 (INTL.)



About Nic:

Nic Forrest is a Sydney/London based professional broker of fine objects, interior style consultant and art adviser.  As well as being the founder and author of, Nic has been published in many magazines and newspapers and has appeared on several radio programs (national and international) as an art market expert.  He has also been invited to be a guest lecturer at the Sotheby’s institute in Singapore for their MA Art Business program.

Frieze Art Fair 09 Review –

Frieze Art Fair 09 Review –

'The Couple' by Louise Bourgeois

'The Couple' by Louise Bourgeois

Over the last month or so I have attented twelve art and antique fairs in London which have left me with plenty to write about and the need for a few days rest. Although the fairs themselves were frought with issues the general mood was positive and the outlook optimistic. Dealers have reported good sales in most cases and seem to be in a very optimistic frame of mind as the market continues to pick up. The biggest fair I attended was the Frieze Art Fair which is one of the most important contemporary art events in the UK if not the world. Although one cannot help but be impressed by the glitz and glamour of the Frieze art fair it was just not an enjoyable experience for me. To start with, the marquee was really hot which made just being at the fair physically unpleasant, but the real problem with Frieze is that it is too much like a supermarket. When visiting a supermarket one tends to only take notice of the brands they are familiar with or the products that are the most visually striking due to the sheer number of different brands and products available. The same goes for Frieze where all but the works of the most recognizable artists and the most flamboyant works of art get lost in the crowd. I came away from the fair with memories of works by artists whose work is instantly recognisable and distinguishable such as Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Takashi Murakami etc. I also have memories of other works by emerging artists that stood out of the crowd, but am unable to remember who they were because of the number of names and images swirling round in my head. Funnily enough, it was the big, bold works by the emerging artists that are reported to have experienced the highest level of success.

On a more positive note, quality was consistently high and sales are reported to have been considerably higher than last year. However, it is important to remember that a positive spin can be put on anything and that the likelihood of this years fair being any worse than last year was very slim. As far as figures go, sales of works priced at under 100,000 pounds were the most prevalent as one would expect with a show geared towards the work of emerging artists. Sales of works in the five figure range are reported to have been particularly strong which is pretty much the same trend reported by dealers at the 2008 fair. Six figure sales were few and far between, which is to be expected with a fair geared towards emerging artists and seven figure sales were even more scarce. There were, however, at least a few big ticket sales that are worth mentioning such as:

-A Louise Bourgeois sculpture titled ‘The Couple’ which was sold by Hauser and Wirth Gallery for US$3.5 million (about 2,150,000 pounds)
-Ruscha’s ‘A Riot of Atom’ which was sold by Gagosian Gallery for US$1.5 (about 900,000 pounds)
-A David Hammons installation which was sold by Salon 94 for US$1.5m (about 900,000 pounds)
-A Neo Rauch painting from 2002 titled ‘Harmlos’ which was sold by David Zwirner US$1.0m (about 610,000 pounds)

I honestly think that the biggest difference between this year’s fair an last year’s fair is that the dealers were in a better position to cater to the current market climate and have had the time to adapt their strategies to the buying trends. Dealers reported that buyers are still being cautious and are taking their time to make decisions which is, once again, similar to reports from last years fair. The market for contemporary art is not really in that much of a better position than it was last year but dealers have had more time to adapt to the conditions and make the best of a bad situation. One can take comfort in the fact that things haven’t got worse and that there is still money out there to be spent on contemporary art. There are undoubtedly signs that the market for contemporary art is poised to make a more speedy recovery than people thought which is somwhat of a scary thought.

The Zoo Art Fair was a completely different story but you will have to wait until my next post for more info.

**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

Art Market Arbitrage –

Art Market Arbitrage –

art investment 2For those of you unfamiliar with arbitrage, defines arbitrage as “attempting to profit by exploiting price differences of identical or similar financial instruments, on different markets or in different forms”. In my opinion, arbitrage is one of the most interesting and potentially profitable ways to make a profit from fine art but it does require a relatively high level of art market knowledge. The reason that arbitrage is possible with the art market is because the art market is relatively inefficient and pretty much unregulated. What this means is that the value of a work of art can differ greatly depending on where a work of art is sold.

There are essentially two ways that one can profit from price discrepancies for a single work of art. The first involves purchasing a work of art from a smaller, perhaps regional auction house where the prices are likely to be lower, and then selling at one of the big two auction houses where prices are likely to be higher. To profit from this method of “investing”, one needs to be able to identify works of art that do have the potential to attract a high price if presented to a more wealthy audience which, as I stated earlier, would require an extremely good knowledge of pricing and the mechanics of the art market. The second arbitrage method involves purchasing a work of art from one country where that artist/subject/period is not very popular and selling in another country where that artist/subject/period is more popular. An example of this form of art arbitrage took place in Japan where, during the recent contemporary art market bull run, dealers would purchase works of art at auctions in Tokyo and then sell them at a higher price to the west.

The internet has had both a positive and negative effect on art arbitrage. On the positive side are the increased opportunities available to art arbitrageurs due to the ease with which one can now browse auction catalogues from all over the world and bid on those works online. However, the internet has also provided the opportunity for more people to find and bid on works of art which increases the likelihood of there being competition for that work of art that the arbitrageur has identified as being a good buy. All in all, art arbitrage can potentially be a quick and highly profitable method of investing in art, but it is also very risky and requires an excellent knowledge of the art market and a decent amount of capital. Best left to the experts then but an interesting concept all the same.

**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.

Adam Reeder and Pan’s Ipod –

Adam Reeder and Pan’s Ipod  –

"Pan with his Ipod"

"Pan with his Ipod"

If I am going to be honest I have never really been a big fan of classical figurative sculpture but after being introduced to the work of California based artist Adam Reeder I may have rethink my position. Judging by the pictures on his website, Reeder is a very accomplished artist with a particular talent for classical style sculpture and drawing but it is his most recent project titled “Socio-Technic Evolution” that really caught my attention. As you would expect, classical themes and subjects are an integral part of Reeder’s artistic practice but with his latest series he has taken the conventions of classical sculpture and added a 21st century twist. “Sleeping Gamer”, “Atlas With his iPhone” and “Pan With His iPod” are the titles of a few of the sculptures that are part of the “Socio-Technic Evolution” series which, as the titles suggest, are no ordinary classical figures.

I was so impressed by the “Socio-Technic Evolution” series that I thought that I would ask Adam to explain the concept behind these works and how he came up with the idea.

This is what Adam has to say about his work:

They are all based on the concept of how technology changes the way western culture interacts with it’s world. To display this, I have combined technological objects with Greco-Roman gods, or iconic Greek sculpture. This is because the Greco-Roman period is the root of western civilization. My work is not about the change that takes place but the change in interaction, facilitated by technology.

Pan with his mp3 player is the first in the series. It has won first place in the spring show at the San Francisco Academy of art university, as well as getting into other shows. My goal was to combine iconic Grecian images, and god’s with well known technological objects. The Grecian images and god’s were to represent western culture. The Greco-Roman empires are known as the root of western culture. I avoided using anything from the Cartesian time periods so as to keep the religious contexts out of the discourse.

The technological objects should change the context of the original image, but not the nature. Arguably, any change could change the nature of it. However, my thought was that the nature of the interaction between the image and the object, would not change the way the image would have originally interacted. I used Pan with his mp3 player as the example for my final proposal. The Greek god Pan, used a flute which he played in the wood and danced with nymphs. My depiction shows Pan, still dancing as before, but no longer playing his own music. Thus, the technology changes the context, but not the nature.

This work is not about consumerism, or commercialism. Rather it is about how technology changes the way in which Western culture interacts with it’s world. This body of work should remind the viewer of pop art, because pop art showed viewers what they were consuming in popular culture. It should also feel like an ad campaign.I like the fact that the initial reaction upon viewing (even for me) is, “oh great, another classic figure”, then upon closer inspection, the viewer recognizes these iconic technological objects and it all comes together.

I have seen that process happen in the eyes of viewers, and have been told about it from museum directors, gallery owners, exhibition organizers, and art agents. This thesis stemmed from an internal reaction I had to my 6 year old daughter’s request for an iPod for her birthday, as opposed to a Barbie, or easy bake oven. I became acutely aware at that moment, that technology was changing the way western culture interacts with its world.

To clarify, this is not a series of sculpture about a little girl, or about how I feel about the change which is taking place. My Thesis is simply a playful reflection of that change.

To see more of Adam’s work go to

**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.

Mai-Thu Perret Edition from Parkett Art –

Mai-Thu Perret Edition from Parkett Art –

perretMai-Thu Perret is a rather interesting Swiss artist who I was not really aware of until recently when I came across a rather intriguing limited edition of Perret’s work being sold at Parkett Art. An exhibition of Perret’s work titled “New Work: Mai-Thu Perret” is currently on show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in San Francisco, California. The exhibition includes works that have been influenced by a fictional narrative that Perret has created called The Crystal Frontier which the SFMOMA website describes as a “a fictional account of a group of women who found a small utopian community in the desert of southwestern New Mexico in an attempt to escape the impositions of capitalism”. Perret started The Crystal Frontier in 1999 and has since produced films, posters, mannequins, furniture, paintings, wallpaper, sculptures, ceramics, banners and performances most of which Perret exhibits as having been made by members of the fictional Crystal Frontier community.

Parkett Art are currently selling a limited edition work by Perret titled “A Portable Apocalypse Ballet (Red Ring), 2008” which is a model of a girl holding a red ring that lights up. A brief description of the work is provided which states that “The purity of the circle, unassailable with eyes closed in order to see”. This work appears to have been created in conjunction with a film that Perret produced called “An Evening of the Book” in which female dancers performed movements in group formation along with simple acts, like cutting through a black banner, manipulating white fluorescent tubes, opening a book, or playing with hula hoops. According to the text by Julien Fronacq that is part of the feature on Perret in the latest edition of Parkett Art “The film
itself takes its inspiration from Varvara Stepanova’s set designs for an agit-prop play of the same title. Viewing the piece in the gallery’s three-projection installation, one can’t help but think of modernism’s most emblematic objects (the monochrome, the
neon tube) or of Yvonne Rainer’s everyday gestures, like walking or sitting, that play down the pathos of dance.”

The body of work that has been produced by Perret as part of “The Crystal Frontier” is eclectic and complex which makes explaining the symbolism and meaning behind “A Portable Apocalypse Ballet (Red Ring)” rather difficult to do in a single blog post. What I can tell you is that Mai-Thu Perret’s has been receiving plenty of attention over the last six months and with current exhibitions of her work at the SFMOMA and Aspen Art Museum there is no doubt that Perret is an emerging contemporary artist well worth keeping an eye on.

A Portable Apocalypse Ballet (Red Ring), 2008 is an edition of 45 and is available from Parkett Art for US$2500. For further information or to purchase the item go to

and you can read more about Perret’s work here:  perret-21

Image: “A Portable Apocalypse Ballet (Red Ring), 2008″
sculpture, opaque non-toxic polyurethane resin, color cast with instant polyurethane pigments, clothing designed by Ligia Dias, beige viscose fabric with white accents and metal buttons, black leather belt, modacrylic light brown wig, solid cast polyurethane resin base, painted, neon ring powered by 12 V CE and UL approved universal wall adapter, 14 3/4 x 7 x 7” ( 37,5 x 17,8 x 17,8 cm) production by Gamla Model Makers, Feasterville, PA, USA, Ed. 45/XX, signed and numbered certificate.

**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.