One of the problems with the art market is that what its participants say and what can sometimes be seen don’t always line up. For all of the talk of new buyers coming to the market from emerging market territories, the seller of the most expensive lot in the Impressionist and Modern sales is Turkish. Carol Vogel records this Evening sale attendee on the energy behind the bidding:
“It’s now a truly global market,” Mark Fisch, a real estate developer and collector, said after the sale. “The new wealth from India and China, Japan and Brazil are all buying art, which made these sales sane, solid and deep.”
Except when we see the statistics from Christie’s sale, the numbers don’t quite back up that story:
- Americans 45%
- Europeans 31%
- Asians won 6%.
There is an additional 18% that remains unaccounted for. But number doesn’t comprise solely Gulf States buyers — though there may be more that a few lurking under that rubric. The missing 18% should also include buyers who didn’t want their nationalities included in the statistics. Also, these numbers reflect the nationality of the bidder/purchaser who may or may not be the final owner of the work. Many of the big lots went to dealers buying for clients.