More Evidence of a Shift in the Art Market
the best Picassos are already picked over and collectors who want to build a serious collection of high-quality work need to move on to the post-war / contemporary market.Reports from the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht (the Old Masters art fair) confirm this:
Some fair veterans said that patchy sales did not surprise them because they found the offerings a bit disappointing. “There were not enough star pictures,” said Ian Kennedy, curator of European paintings and sculpture at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. “Dealers simply can’t find them.”
Apart from the scarcity of undeniably great works, auction houses are muscling into the private-sales turf once dominated by dealers.
This being the heart of old-master country, however, there were a few exceptional examples. Noortman Master Paintings, a Maastricht gallery bought by Sotheby’s two years ago, was showing a Rembrandt self-portrait from 1632 priced at $27.7 million. “It’s the last Rembrandt self-portrait to buy in the world,” said William Noortman, who has run the business since his father, Robert, died last year. [emphasis mine]
Indeed, further evidence that the market is shifting was found in the form of the very first video piece to grace the legendary fair:
In the center of [Huanchof Venison's] booth, in a small darkened room, is “Isolde’s Ascension (The Shape of Light in the Space After Death),” a video by Bill Viola priced at $300,000. While video art is old hat at contemporary art fairs, this is believed to be a first for the European Fine Art Fair. It was the first thing the gallery sold on Thursday.OK, so I have to fess up. I might have jumped the gun here a little bit. Modern works seem to be still pretty much in play. At least according to this report:
Harry Blain, a director of Haunch of Venison, said that collectors in other fields like old masters and the 19th century were beginning to migrate to contemporary art. “So this is the perfect arena,” he said.
Modern art was plentiful, too. During the last few years the show’s organizers have tried to strengthen the modern and contemporary selection to compete with Art Basel in Switzerland, which is held every June. At Mr. Nagy’s booth, for instance, there were examples of German Expressionist artists who have been all the rage recently. Among the stars were “Woman From Pozzuoli,” a 1925 portrait by Christian Schad priced at $3 million, and an Egon Schiele watercolor “The Dancer Moa,” offered for $4.5 million.Still the fact that dealers are talking about "the last Rembrandt self-portrait to buy in the world" has to bode well for the Post-War and Contemporary markets.
Labels: art market