[intro]A 19th Century Dealer Wonders What the Auction Houses Are Thinking[/intro]
We all know that even in these difficult financial times the best works of art are going to sell … and many will make strong, if not record, prices. The really troubling part is that many of the general works offered at auction are not selling; in many instances you have a 50/50 shot.
Yes, the Dame Laura Knight & Herbert Olivier paintings made spectacular prices, but they are spectacular works by their respective artists.
- What really tells the story is the fact that of the 84 works offered only 41 sold – an embarrassing sell-through rate of just 48.8% and a total take of £3M ($4.92M).
- In addition, the top 10 lots combined brought £2.56M ($4.2M) – over 85% of the sale’s total – and the painting in the number 10 position did not even break the £50,000 mark (£49,250 with the buyer’s commission, or about $80,000)
- that shows you not only how weak the general offerings were, but how weak the general market is.
It is time for the salerooms to think about what they are doing. The overall art market still cannot handle all the product being brought to it; they need to scale back even further and advise clients that now is not be the right time to sell certain works – especially those that have condition/quality issues or are not strong examples.
Just my 2 cents.