Kashya Hildebrand is a former trader and now a gallerist specializing in artists from the Gulf where there was a boom in the midst of the last decade. Now the market savvy dealer is moving to London and in her interview with Bloomberg she explains why prices for Iranian artists peaked in 2008 and have faded since. That’s because art became an asset that Iranians could sell to avoid sanctions and raise money. The reporter doesn’t say whether Hildebrand thinks supply outstripped demand or the quality of works diminished as more collectors used their art as a piggybank:
Mirroring the region’s politics, the market for Middle Eastern art is volatile, Hildebrand says. She gives the example of United Nations sanctions against Iran in force since 2006.
“There have been some exogenous pressures creating price volatility,” she says. “Some of the bigger names people are starting to focus on are artists from Iran. Just as their auction prices were making new highs, the sanctions started kicking in, so suddenly a lot of affluent people from the Persian community who were hit by these sanctions started selling some of their personal assets to get liquidity.”