The Price and Value of Contemporary Art – artmarketblog.com

The Price and Value of Contemporary Art – artmarketblog.com

contemporary-art-auction-2The problem with the market for contemporary art is that the perceived value of the work by a contemporary artist (especially emerging artists) is often reliant on someone taking the risk of backing that artist which then adds credibility to their work thus prompting other people to buy their work as well.  With the work of contemporary artists (even more so with emerging artists), the price of their work and the value of their work are often virtually one in the same because it is likely that there will be little or no other factors with which to determine the value of their work.  The reason that I refer to the value of work by emerging contemporary artists as perceived value is because it is a value based on the opinion of who ever is purchasing the work. It is unlikely that an emerging artist’s career or their body of work would have had time to develop or progress enough for someone to make a justifiable judgment regarding the value of the work based on the characteristics that are most often used as indicators of value. These indicators include: provenance, contribution to art history, rarity, exhibition history of artist, critical analysis, significance of particular work in artist’s oeuvre, recognition by scholars and academics etc.

In a nutshell, the contemporary art market is driven by people’s perception of value which is, in turn, based on other people’s perception of value which is basically what people refer to as the domino effect. One person gets the ball rolling and others keep it going. This trend is evident with the likes of Charles Saatchi who can make or break an artist because of the influence that he has on people’s perception of an artist’s work. Saatchi’s influence is so great that people mimic his actions regardless of their own point of view and regardless of what Saatchi’s motives for purchasing that artist’s work may have been. By the very act of purchasing an artwork Charles Saatchi or anyone with a similar level of influence can, by purchasing a work of art, give value to that work of art and the artist that painted it. Because there is no real set of factors that dictate what determines the value of a work of contemporary art by an artist whose career is still in the developing stages we often have rely on the opinion of experts such as art critics, gallery owners, museums, collectors, dealers etc. to provide an opinion of the value of the work of a contemporary artist. An opinion which, in the case of gallery owners and dealers, is quite likely going to be at least somewhat biased and subjective.

During boom times the prices being paid for works by many of the contemporary artists rise at a far faster rate than they should and for reasons that are not related to the actual value of the artist and their work. It is usually the speculators and flippers who push the prices for the contemporary works of art sky high as they try and make a quick buck. However, when the potential for making a quick buck disappears and the art market takes a hit, these flippers and speculators are the first to exit the art market. Because the value associated with a work of contemporary art is a type of value that is dependent upon people’s actions and is not an inherent value that is automatically associated with that work of art, if people stop buying the work work of such an artist then there are no, or very few other factors that give value to the work of art. With the one major source of perceived value no longer in play people then start looking at the traditional defining factors of value such as the ones I mentioned earlier (provenance, contribution to art history, rarity, exhibition history of artist, critical analysis, significance of particular work in artist’s oeuvre, recognition by scholars and academics etc.). Because the traditional defining factors of value become much more identifiable and qualifiable the longer the artist has been working and the longer the artist’s work has been in existence, the work of the old masters becomes far more attractive.

People turn to the old masters and works by more established “blue chip” artists during times of art market uncertainty because the value of works by such artists is much easier to identify and because the value of such works is actually associated with the characteristics of the artist’s career and their body of work and not just based on perception. Because the value of works by “blue chip” artists such as the old masters is much easier to determine, works by these artists are far less prone to the rapid rise and over-inflation of prices like contemporary works are and, as such, represent a far more stable and less risky investment. For this reason it is quite likely that there will be a renewed interest in works by the modern and old masters and a reduced level of interest in works by contemporary artists and an even lower level of interest in works by emerging contemporary artists.

**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.

Trailblazers at Boutwell Draper Gallery – artmarketblog.com

Trailblazers at Boutwell Draper Gallery – artmarketblog.com

jesse-hogan

Work by Jesse Hogan

From the 19th of November to the 13 of December, Sydney’s Boutwell Draper gallery are holding an exciting exhibition called Trailblazers which includes work by artists from Australia, Europe and the United States who are considered to be at the cutting edge of contemporary artistic practice.
According to the exhibition catalogue “Content is what unifies the artists in Trailblazers, a show of
international contemporary artists at Boutwell Draper Gallery.The contributing artists, though in various stages of their art practices, produce the kind of content that has plucked them from their respective beginnings in new urban, underground, street and outsider art and landed them in professional art circles around the world. These are the talents that have marched forward and defined new paths for the future generations”
The artists included in the show are:
Kelsey Brookes, Copyright, Ben Frost, Matt Furie, Jesse Hogan, Hush, Ian Johnson, Anthony Lister
Buff Monster, Numskull, 1337, Alex Pardee, Shannon Dmote Peel, Cleon Peterson
Mark Whalen Kill Pixie, Plusminus, Pure Evil, J.Shea, Regan HaHa Tamanui, Andy Uprock
Trent Whitehead, Kid Zoom
Established in 2001, Boutwell Draper Gallery is committed to the promotion of both emerging and established contemporary artists. The artists shown in the gallery work in a broad range of media, from painting and photography to sculpture, installation, video and digital arts. For more information go to http://www.boutwelldrapergallery.com.au or see the catalogue here:trailblazers

**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.

German Expressionism: aggression with a brush – artmarketblog.com

German Expressionism: aggression with a brush – artmarketblog.com

Copyright@Artprice.com

The price index for German expressionist masters has been particularly dynamic over the past 2 years. Underpinning this price progression: a rarefaction of the offer; some exceptional works coming to market and plenty of recent exhibitions. For example, Emil Nolde is currently being honoured with a retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris – until 19 January 2009.

Over the last two years, the auction results of Emil Hansen NOLDE (1867-1956) have been spectacular. Already in 2002 he emerged as the top-ranking German artist (by sales volume) with an annual revenue figure of 4.6 million euros. In 2006, sales of his works generated no less than 20 millions euros! This year, there have been numerous sales above the million-dollar line in Germany, Switzerland and the UK. A heavily framed portrait from 1919 intituled Rotblondes Mädchen, from which emerges a piecing melancholic look, generated a new auction record for the artist when it sold for GBP 1.85 million (EUR 2.7m) on 20 June 2006 at Christie’s in London. This strange face, disturbing and captivating at the same time, reflects a particular side of the work of Nolde who examined the portrait and became fascinated by the duality of masks. On the same day of the sale (dedicated to German and Austrian art) Christie’s generated a record for one of his seascapes (1909): an explosion of colour at the frontier with abstraction entitled Sonnenuntergang which sold for GBP 1.7 million (nearly EUR 2.5 million).
Five months after the Nolde record, Ernst Ludwig KIRCHNER‘s caused an auction sensation: his painting Berliner Strassenszene/Bäume was a leader lot of the Christie’s New York sale on 8 November 2006. An entire 12-page dossier was devoted to the work in the sales catalogue. It was even compared with Picasso’s famous Demoiselles D’Avignon painted five years before Kirchner’s Berlin street scene. The final result measured up handsomely to the expectations of the auctioneer: 34 million dollars for this museum piece, 10 million above its high estimate. That year (2006), Kirchner’s works generated an outstanding total revenue figure of EUR 42.29 million! Fuelled by the exceptional 2006 results, the good health of his price index has continued through 2007 and 2008.

In 2007, the strongest sales revenue figure was generated by Alexej JAWLENSKY von (1864-1941): 12 sales above the million-dollar line and a total revenue of EUR 29.2 million over the year, i.e. 20 million more than in 2005. And 2005 was already a very good year for the artist’s price index. In fact, Sotheby’s generated his record in New York with a flamboyant portrait of Schokko (painted around 1910) that had remained in private hands since its acquisition at the end of the 1960s. The piece fetched USD 7.4 million. But when the new owner saw the spectacular results that Jawlensky’s work was fetching in 2007, he sent the painting back to auction on 5 February 2008 in London where it sold for 9 million dollars more than at the previous transaction (Sotheby’s GBP 8.4 million, or USD 16.5 million).

The London sales of February and June 2008 were both positive for each of the members of the Die Brücke including Kirchner and Nolde, but also for other expressionists like Hermann Max PECHSTEIN, Karl SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF, Otto MUELLER and Erich HECKEL. In June 2008, Pechstein tripled his low estimate for a circus scene with zebras and camels that sold for the record price of GBP 1.7 million at Sotheby’s (Zirkus mit Dromedaren, USD 3.35 million).

These million-dollar masterpieces are rare however and their buyers are very demanding. Each year, dozens of works are bought in because they do not exude the expressionist spirit. This was the case, for example, of an Otto DIX landscape that was offered for GBP 50,000 at Christie’ in June of this year. The overly ‘classic’ subject matter did not interest anyone… But if you offer buyers a charcoal drawing by the same artists from the same period representing a succubus with hideous features, then the biding will go substantially beyond this kind of price range. The demonic Sitzender Weiblicher Rückenakt that was offered at the Villa Grisebach in May 2008 fetched 180,000 euros although estimated at 50 to 70 thousand euros.

**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

Art as Alternative Investment – artmarketblog.com

Art as Alternative Investment – artmarketblog.com

The interest in alternative investments which are those investments that are not one of the traditional investments such as bonds, stocks, cash, money markets etc. has been on the increase in recent years as people seek safer and more stable alternatives to the highly volatile stock market and money markets. Alternative investments such as art attract even more interest in times like these when the traditional investment routes take a battering and begin to look rather unappealing. The Australian Triple J radio station aired a half hour show on alternative investments today which featured some information and advice on investing in art which was provided by myself. If you would like to listen to the show and hear my advice on collecting and investing in art then visit one of the links below which will open the program in the specified formats (section on art investment is near the end of the program).

Hack Half Hour – Alternative Investments

**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

Gerhard Richter Buy Alert – artmarketblog.com

Gerhard Richter Buy Alert – artmarketblog.com

Ever fancied owning an original artwork by Gerhard Richter?? With Richter being one of the most important post war artists and one of the most expensive living artists it is hard to think of a reason that anyone wouldn’t want one of his works in their collection. If you are thinking that you could never afford an original work by Richter then think again because to celebrate his first solo show in sixteen years which is taking place at the Serpentine Gallery in London, Richter has produced eighty exclusive original works that are being sold thorough the Serpentine Gallery. Each of the eighty works is tltled Quattro Colori and according to the Serpentine gallery website “comprises four coloured squares, drawn from the same palette of 25 colours used in Richter’s 4900 Colours: Version II, the subject of his exhibition at the Serpentine. Like 4900 Colours: Version II, the colours for Quattro Colori have been selected at random, rendering each piece unique.”

Quattro Colori 2008
Enamel Paint on Aludibond and Wood
19.4 x 19.4 cm
Signed and numbered 1 to 80
Each one unique

Price: £12,000 (incl. VAT)

The last couple of years have seen the value of Richter’s work skyrocket as can be seen in the graph to the right which shows a major increase in value since 2007. The auction record for Richter stands at US$15,483,589 for the work Kerze (Candle) which was sold by Sotheby’s at their Contemporary sale on the 27th of February 2008. On the 12th November, Christie’s will auction a major painting by Richter titled Abstraktes Bild (710) in their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. According to a press release from Christie’s: “On the heels of a world record price established for Gerhard Richter last season, Christie’s will offer a masterpiece of abstraction by Richter, Abstraktes Bild (710), 1989, (estimate on request).”

At 76 years of age Richter is unlikely to be able to continue producing art for too many more years which is bound to be a factor in the recent increase in the value of his work. Another factor that is likely to have contributed to the increased desirability of Richter’s work is the increased recognition and exposure that Richter has experienced in recent years outside of Europe.

Given the likely unprecedented interest in this Edition, the works which have been reserved for the general public will be available for purchase only in the lobby of the Gallery, in person, on a first-come-first-served basis from 10am on Tuesday 23 September 2008.

For more information, please contact Deborah Bullen, Print Manager, on + 44 (0)20 7298 1511 or for more information go here:
http://www.serpentinegallery.org/2008/07/gerhard_richterquattro_colori.html

image 1:
Quattro Colori 2008
Enamel Paint on Aludibond and Wood
19.4 x 19.4 cm
Signed and numbered 1 to 80
Each one unique

**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

2008 Art Auction Records – artmarketblog.com

2008 Art Auction Records – artmarketblog.com

The art world gurus at artnet.com have compiled a list of new art records set between the 1st of January 2008 and the 30th of June 2008 and ranked according to sale price all the way down to $100,000. According to artnet “Overall, the sprawling list of almost 1,000 new records dramatically reflects the triumphant globalization of the art market. The fall of communism was the best thing that ever happened to the art business, opening up huge new markets of millionaire art collectors. The ranking is filled with “new” names from Canada, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia; sales devoted to Scottish art, Irish art, Scandinavian art and Greek art all had individual works being bought for more than $1 million. The booms in 19th-century American and Victorian art continue, as does the rapid growth of auctions held in Asia and the Mideast. The rise in value also delves into the second and third tiers of familiar art movements, and extends backwards in time as well, including early modernists and 19th-century pioneers.”

To take a look at the top 156 names check out this link which provides the details in a pdf format:
http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/news/artmarketwatch/new_art_records_2008.pdf

Thanks artnet !!!

**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

New Oz Art Resale Royalty Scheme – artmarketblog.com

New Oz Art Resale Royalty Scheme – artmarketblog.com

The details of the Australian resale royalty scheme for visual artists were announced by the Australian government yesterday which are due to take effect from July 1 2009 if the bill is passed when introduced to the parliament. The defining and most controversial characteristic of the proposed scheme is that the royalty will only be payable on the sale of works of art sold through the secondary market where the seller has acquired the artwork after the legislation takes effect (anticipated to be July 1 2009). What this means is that if someone wants to sell an original work of art after July 1 2009 and acquired the work prior to July 2009 a resale royalty will not be payable. The sale of the work by the person who purchased the work from this person will, however, attract a resale royalty as it was acquired by this person after July 1 2009 . Basically, once the legislation takes effect any work sold on the secondary market after July 2009 that was acquired by the seller after July 1 2009 will require the liable party (will be joint and several liability) to pay the royalty. Any work sold on the secondary market after July 1 2009 that was acquired by the seller prior to July 1 2009 will not require the payment of the resale royalty.

For practicing artists this means that they will have to wait for the work to be sold on the secondary market for the first time to receive a royalty for works that they created after the legislation takes effect and will have to wait for the second sale of the work on the secondary market to receive a royalty for works that they produced and sold prior to the legislation taking effect. For deceased artists whose work is still in copyright, the heir of the deceased would receive a royalty on works sold by a seller on the secondary market who acquired the work after the legislation takes effect. The heir would, however, have to wait to receive a royalty for works sold on the secondary market that were acquired prior to the legislation taking effect until the work is sold by the person who purchased the work from the person selling that work who acquired the work prior to the legislation taking effect.

If you think that this scheme sounds overly complicated and difficult to administer then you would be right. According to Michael Keighery who is the Chairman of the board of Viscopy, a visual arts copyright agency based in Sydney said “It is going to be very difficult to track and verify whether the work has been resold before or not” (Sydney Morning Herald article by Louise Schwartzoff October 4 2008). Keighery’s concerns are extremely valid because the number of people who keep records of the date that they purchased a work of art will be limited and even those who do have proof of the date of purchase could potentially give false details regarding the date to avoid paying the royalty.

To be continued…

For further information on the new Australian visual arts resale royalty scheme visit http://www.arts.gov.au/artists/resale_royalty

**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