Artsy’s Alexander Forbes worries out loud that China’s stock market collapse could bring down the global art market. Here he’s thinking of Japan’s role in the art market crash of 1990 when Japanese buyers at the top end exited the Impressionist market bringing down much of the rest of the dramatically smaller art market of the time. Forbes is right to raise the question but the comparison is probably spurious.
For one thing, Forbes notices that Chinese domestic art buying has swooned by 30% (or, at least, whatever the Chinese auction houses are reporting as art sales has fallen) but Chinese buyers have increased their activity at Christie’s by 47%.
There may be a simple explanation for the differential that also helps put the Japanese experience in perspective.Continue Reading