One of the more curious aspects of today’s art market is the way so many long-time art dealers seem to have a high level of disdain for buyers in the market. Is this merely a way to flatter their own customers by rubbishing other buyers or is it a sign of growing frustration and disenchantment? Here’s an example of Scott Reyburn’s latest column:
“In the old days you had a small market. Now globalization is a huge factor,” said James Roundell, a director at the London and New York dealer and adviser Dickinson, who, while working at Christie’s in 1987, represented the winning Japanese telephone bidder for Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.” That $39.9 million was the first of the modern “art boom“ prices.
“There’s a lot of fashion involved, and people are buying for show,” Mr. Roundell said. “I’m not sure that many of them are buying for the love of the object. For some, particularly wealthy Americans, it’s all about playing the market. Back in the early 20th century, collectors would buy a painting, live with it in their own home and leave it to a museum. Now it’s about acquisition, not collecting.”
Roundell doesn’t tell us whether his client who bought the van Gogh was a collector or merely an acquirer.
Who’s Rich Enough for a Picasso? (NYTimes.com)