South Africa’s Citadel has an art price index and the firm smartly charts art against equities but also other commodities. Compared to anything but local stocks (above), South African art has held up well these last few years since the crisis. But next to the commodity is most closely resembles, Gold, in a country that knows a thing or two about the precious metal, art has been a laggard even with Gold’s recent setbacks.
Art prices did not escape this pull back in commodity prices and the Citadel Art Price Index showed a decline of 5.3% for the 1st quarter of 2013. This comes after a strong finish to the end of last year, which ended in a 12.2% rise for 2012. As has become the norm, this decline is exactly in line with that of the Chinese equity market for the 1st quarter of 2013. Coincidence?
During the final quarter of 2012, the 7 auction houses from whom we gather data sold 992 pieces at a value of R101m, which is exactly the same value as the previous quarter. That’s no coincidence!
The top end of the market has cooled down somewhat as the astronomic records set by the Sterns are no longer achieved, whilst the ‘middle’ section of the price spectrum is still quite vibrant with various new records set for artists.