NPR Says Russians May Save the Art Market
We’ve mentioned in the past the semi-serious concept of the magazine cover indicator. The thinking goes that once a trend or idea reaches the level of interest that makes it worthy of a magazine cover, it is already over, out-dated or obsolete. In investment terms this can mean that it is simply too late to get into a trend or it can be a bright flashing sign that there’s nowhere to go but down.
Today, NPR offers a report on the role of Russians in the art market. It trots out the Hirst sale, Abramovich, Zhukova and the Malevich coming up at Sotheby’s in New York. It quotes one auction house expert saying that Russians who got out of the market may still be interested in investing in high-quality art. It’s a nice thought but few of the wealthiest Russians have been like Mikhail Prokhorov: in cash.
A better thought may be that even though many of the wealthiest Russians have lost huge amounts nominal wealth that they still have enough free cash to buy the kind of art that will continue to place them within the forefront of global culture. Russian wealth may have been damaged by the collapse of credit–but their nationalistic pride and ambitions have not.