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It is never a good measure of the effect of an systemic event to look at the sales closest too that event. One need only look at the art auctions right around the time of the failure of Lehman Brothers and the bailout of AIG in the Fall of 2008. Damien Hirst had a very successful sale on the day of Lehman's bankruptcy. The Frieze sales that followed in the next month were sober but not cataclysmic. By November, the mood had darkened and sales suffered.
Looking for signs of how art will fare under a Trump presidency is premature. Will we know more in February, May or June? Sure. But until then, the art market should be judged more on the internal dynamics than as a response to the US election.
That didn't stop Sotheby's Jeremiah Evarts from declaring the art market safe from Trump, according to ArtNews's Nate Freeman:
“We definitely had the election in mind, but since today was a good night, all signs indicate that the market won’t be affected,” Everts told ARTnews. “There’s a buffer—for better or for worse, there’s a buffer.”
As noted in a previous post, Sotheby's approach to the Impressionist and Modern evening sale is somewhat instructive. The sale had an 81% sell-through rate. Given the new model of managing sales tightly, that seems low but not worryingly low.
Kelly Crow remarked on the absence of eager bidders in the Wall Street Journal:
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