Bloomberg’s John Varoli plays the numbers game extolling the 90% rise in Russian sales between 2009 and 2010. With $86 million in art sold at four houses, it’s hard to argue that the Russian market has not returned with strength. There’s even interest in Russian Contemporary art which seemed only a taste for bubble times. Still, there are reasons to be cautious. Like most other segments of the art market, strength lies at the top, not down in the middle of the market:
“For exceptional works the market sees strong results, but for the middle market, that segment under 150,000 pounds, people are much more cautious and watching on the sidelines,” said Sophie Hamilton, head of Russian art at Bonhams. […]
“The Russian art market is growing,” Giorgi Putnikov, a dealer and collector, said in an interview. “The market in London and New York is growing. In Moscow it remains stagnant.”
Collectors from emerging markets such as Russia and China have selectively bought the best examples of their countries’ art heritage at recent sales. Other international Impressionist and modern works have been selling for record prices.
The takings are more than 90 percent up on a year ago, when the auction houses raised 29 million pounds during London’s Russian week. Most artworks are sourced from private U.S. and European collections, while most of the buyers are newly wealthy tycoons from Russia and Ukraine.