The art market is a great mystery, that is certain. Few could have expected the kind of turnaround the market has seen these last few months let alone forecast it. But just because the market is hard to predict, that doesn’t mean one gets to make up any sort of explanation and call it trenchant. Nick Foulkes, writing in Newsweek, indulges in a little baseless pop psychological projection to explain the robust salerooms at the auction houses:
I have a theory as to why the show must go on. In the climate of neopuritanism that discourages people from spending even if they have the money, only a totally insensitive fool would splurge on a new jet or a flashy holiday villa. However, purchasing art has the benefit of bestowing a cultural and intellectual halo on the shopper: one is more likely to be seen as a connoisseur rather than a fashion victim.
It’s shame that the better analysis comes from a sharp art world observer who is not known for his economic acumen. Nonetheless, Mr. Foulkes could learn a little from London’s Godfrey Barker:
A common guess among Bond Street art dealers and the bosses at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams is that inflation will rise to eight per cent by the end of 2011, stimulating further flights out of money and equities into art, not to mention into prime London property and a range of real assets.
Let the Bidding War Begin (Newsweek)
How Mike Platt and Joe Lapaca . . . (This Is London)