The Economist‘s coverage of the art market is always sharp even if it involves using a variety of different writers to cover each collecting field. What unifies the coverage is the awareness that art is now viewed as any other sort of asset that a person might own. It has also become an overwhelming theme of the art market that art is now a favored asset among those who are seeking assets to hold. Here’s a relevant comment from a dealer in Victorian and British pictures:
David Mason, a London dealer who joined his father’s firm, MacConnal-Mason, when he was just 17. Mr Mason, who has seen recessions come and go in the 53 year he has been in the business, said afterwards: “Prices today reflect what is happening out there. People are discounting the coming inflation and buying quality. They know that inflation has always been the art dealer’s friend.”
Buyers in every sector of the art market, from Chinese porcelain to Old Masters, now seem to follow a pattern. They are happy to pay over the odds for top-ranking pictures, but leave the rest untouched.
Back to the Future (Economist)