Dealer Richard Polsky takes a closer look at Contemporary prices achieved in last week’s New York sales and comes to this conclusion on Artnet.com based on the high sell-through rates for both the Evening and Day sales: the reduced number of lots and absence of lots above $10 million had a big impact on dollar volume but most of the art sold at the new price level and that sets up the potential for a floor in the market.
If you exclude works by Alexander Calder, prices in general feel like they’ve receded 33 percent from their high water mark in London in June 2007 — a far cry from the 66 percent drop during the hellish market demise of 1990-93.
Polsky also handicaps a few artists based on their performance last week:
- Cecily Brown: Given her youth (she’s still improving), strong gallery representation (Gagosian) and consistency on the resale market, I’d be hard-pressed to find a more reliable bet.
- Alexander Calder: When times get tough, the tough go shopping and buy Calder. During the 1990s recession, Calder’s prices probably held up the best.
- Richard Diebenkorn: Once European collectors and curators get over their prejudice (they accuse him of being overly influenced by Matisse), and view him more as an American who absorbed Matisse, look out.
- Frank Stella: It seems like the Stella market never recovered from the artist’s much-derided second retrospective at MoMA in 1987. Stella’s work from the late 1950s through the 1970s remains beautiful and significant. It deserves a better fate.
- Chinese Contemporary Art: While it’s wonderful that the political climate in China relaxed enough to allow freedom of expression, the art it produced was completely derivative of Western painting. There is nothing innovative or original about Chinese contemporary art. This market will continue to fade.
Winners and Losers (Artnet)