Will Asia Lead the Way Out of the Art Doldrums?

Christie’s Ed Dolman thinks so. That’s what he told Reuters at CEO conference in Scotland:

“The strength of these sales in Asia is the first tangible example of recovery. The New York and London markets are still struggling for volume but I’m hoping Asia’s going to lead the way.”

Dolman also said that while the recession had put some sellers off because of the fear they would not get the desired price for works of art, it had pushed other people into selling items as a way of reducing debt.

“We’re seeing clients who we wouldn’t have expected to sell, selling in order to deal with debt,” he added.[...]

“As the market has struggled for confidence since last September, lots of clients have come to us asking to facilitate private sales at an agreed price, rather than put them up for auction,” he told Reuters.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Forbes CEO conference in Scotland, he said that of the group’s total turnover of about $5 billion (3 billion pounds) last year, $750 million was from private sales, up from just $100 million 3-4 years previously.

“Asia represents probably the most obvious potential for us going forward,” Dolman said, adding that Christie’s had just opened a new fine art security warehouse in Singapore which would help it execute private sales in the region.

Christie’s to Expand Private Sales in Asia (Reuters)