Charlotte Burns asks and answers her own question about the bifurcating art market. Looking at stagnant incomes for all but the very wealthy, she sees a narrowing of the art market even though the February sales in London hardly showed a trend toward so-called masterpiece prices:
Rising costs and stalling wages for the 99% have led to “an erosion of the more traditional collector base of upper-middle-class professionals who come from academic, medical or accounting backgrounds. They’ve been trumped by a new collecting class from emerging economies, which has proved very capable of dominating and mis-shaping the market,” says Gregor Muir, the executive director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. Another group on the wane is “the hedge-fund group that was spending $150,000 to $200,000 on a painting in 2007. They all got fired, so they’re not buying,” one prominent New York collector says.
Burns knows that day sales at auction houses have been strong recently and remarks that the demand may be coming from places where incomes are rising across the board:
“Latin American collectors account for a lot of our business at the moment, particularly in middle-market, classic post-war material by artists such as Calder, Fontana and Manzoni,” [Sotheby’s Alex] Branczik says.
While the Rich Get Richer … (The Art Newspaper)