Art collecting is by definition an exclusionary pursuit. As an artist’s body of work increases in value, any artifact created by the painter becomes more valuable and less accessible. In Ireland, that’s leading a gallery to breakup a sketch book of watercolors by Jack B. Yeats into a sale of 30 tiny works. Of course, there’s another reason to break up the images and that’s because the middle market for Irish art is slow right now:
Ian Whyte, managing director of Whyte and Sons Auctioneers, explained the sketchbook will be split up into 30 individual pieces, which will allow more modest collectors the chance to purchase at a more affordable estimate of €200 upwards.
“Many would love to own a Jack Yeats work but they can fetch anywhere from €5,000 to €1m on the open market,” Mr White explained. […]
“The art market like every other has been hit by the recession. Art is discretionary,” Mr Whyte said, adding that the rare works were still fetching millions of euro on world markets.
“The middle market is very quiet. Pictures from €5,000 to €100,000 have come back 20pc to 50pc on the peak price of 2007. The good thing is the genuine collector is back in the market.”
The more traditional artists such as Sir John Lavery, William Orpen, Walter Osborne and Jack Yeats remain in demand. The works in the auction by artists including Orpen, Evie Hone, Cecil Maguire, Louis le Brocquy and Markey Robinson are expected to fetch €300,000 to €400,000 in total.
Mr Whyte said there were works for “recessionary collectors” with estimated prices from €200 to €20,000.
Now you can own a Jack B Yeats for €200 (Irish Independent)