One of the biggest problems with gauging the art market is the heterogeneous nature of the market. Few works are comparable to each other and almost none are fungible. So while the overall market may be down, there are always pockets of good and bad sales. The Financial Times went to a variety of sources to get a quote that would capture the state of the market. Ian Peck of Art Capital Group was happy to offer a doomsday scenario.
A securities analyst measured estimates against the previous year’s hammer prices and found they were in the 16-23% range which reflects the slowdown art turnover but not necessarily a collapse in prices. Finally, Robert Read at the art insurers, Hiscox, suggested
Chagall’s “Le Jongleur de Paris”, offered at Sotheby’s tomorrow, would be a barometer. Its value is estimated at $2m-$3m. It was sold in 2005 for $1.1m.
Art Prices Likely to Be Hammered at New York Auctions (Financial Times)