The Australian has some bad news for art investors in that country, especially since it has now come to light the extent of art’s being used as an investment in private pension schemes:
Griffith University researcher Helen Higgs has compiled a quarterly Australian art price index for the period 1986 to 2009, and compared the performance of the art market with stock and property investments.
During 2008, […] Higgs found that, while the housing market was protected from deviation by government initiatives, “average returns plummeted by 5.85 per cent in the art market and 3.95 per cent in the stock market”. […] Tracking the sales of more than 60,000 works by 71 Australian artists, the study concludes that art only marginally under-performed the stock and housing markets across the period.
Artists in the study include early Australian painters such as John Glover, through to well-known contemporary artists such as William Robinson. There were 336 sales of works by Glover sold through auction houses in the period covered by Higgs’s report, at an average price of $29,111. Robinson’s 170 sales at auction averaged $62,977.
Higgs’s list tracks all artwork sales, including prints and drawings, with the highest average price paid on 337 sales of works by 19th-century artist Frederick McCubbin ($87,997).
Works by indigenous artist Rover Thomas, who died in 1998, sold for an average price of $64,221.
Investors Get Grim Picture (The Australian)
Cooper review stance on art slammed as ‘madness’ (The Australian)