Bloomberg’s Scott Reyburn has a long and mixed report on the sales action in Maastricht this weekend. Old Master dealers like Johnny van Haeften are doing well but everyone else is seeing deals stretch out and price negotiations get tougher:
Modern art dealers reduced prices, while contemporary-art exhibitors were less busy, with some sticking to 2008 levels even after auction prices declined between 30 and 50 percent. Many dealers said that buyers were taking longer to decide, with attendance down 5 percent on 2008.
“The disparity in price rises between Old Masters and contemporary has been crazy,” Richard L. Feigen, a New York dealer, said in an interview. “Some Old Master pictures haven’t increased in price in the last 20 years and there are people with a lot of cash at Tefaf looking for a place to park it.” [ . . . ]
London- and Munich-based Old Master paintings dealer Bernheimer-Colnaghi sold a head-and-shoulders portrait of an unknown bearded man painted by Rubens after his return to Antwerp from Italy in 1611. The 2-foot-2-inch-high work was bought by a U.S. collector for less than 5 million euros ($6.46 million), against an asking price of 5.5 million euros. The oil-on-panel painting had been acquired from a client a few months ago, said gallery owner Konrad Bernheimer.
“Everybody knows we’re going to have inflation within the next year or so,” said Bernheimer. “People are looking for a safe place to put money.”