Reuters spoke to the heads of Sotheby’s and Christie’s here in the US to get their sense of the art market. Both claim the issue is not a dearth of buyers but a lack of quality goods to sell.
“Our issue hasn’t been the buyers,” said Marc Porter, president of Christie’s Americas. “If the works are right and the estimates are right, there is interest.” But consignors, or would-be sellers, view selling “as optional at the (price) levels we’re seeing. Only a relative few felt they had to sell” now.
They also seem to repeat the mantra of provenance, price and no recent previous sale as if that will make more works with these ideal characteristics appear on the market:
Sotheby’s CEO Bill Ruprecht said, “Sellers have had more trepidation. Our best clients are saying now is the time to buy,” but would-be consigners seem content to wait it out.” [ . . . ] “Work that is fresh to the market, soberly priced and of very high quality” will move, Ruprecht said.