What drives collectors today? Scott Reyburn uses his International New York Times column to make a startling comparison between the prices of some Contemporary works and the sales for Old Master paintings that lack the scale and reputation to command top prices.
Before he gets there, Reyburn scores with this quote from Marta Gnyp on the transition to eclectic buyers who are less committed to a time-and place bound collecting thesis:
“Collectors used to be interested in specific periods and artists, and know a lot about them,” Marta Gnyp, an art adviser based in Berlin and the author of “The Shift: Art and the Rise to Power of Contemporary Collectors,” said. “Now their fascination for art is related to a big extent to lifestyle and investment.” She added: “You can interest collectors in excursions into other periods, if the art is presented as a discovery with good value and promises value increase.”
Here’s the clever comparison Reyburn makes:
But other lots exemplified how far the values of less exceptional old masters have declined. Take the case of the well-preserved triangular gold-ground painting of “Christ the Saviour” by the Sienese artist Andrea di Bartolo (1360 or 1370–1428) that began the sale with a within-estimate price of €25,000.
Now, you might not want to spend your evenings watching “Game of Thrones” with Christ looking down in judgment on you, but the fact remains that this was a unique 600-year-old Italian Renaissance painting that sold for the price of a Banksy print. (On Monday, an example of Banksy’s 2007 screenprint “Stop and Search” — number 408 from an edition of 500 — sold for $25,000 against an estimate of $7,000-$9,000 at Phillips in New York.)
A New Battleground for ‘Classic Art’ (The New York Times)