In an otherwise uninteresting article on the relationship between the Venice Biennale and ArtBasel, the authors quote Olav Velthuis, the author of Talking Prices and a professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam, on the definition of success in the art market:
“In the end, success in the art market is not measured through sales, but on prices,” Velthuis says. “You are considered to be successful in the art market if your prices are rising quickly, and if you are able to sustain those high price levels. And that is exactly what this biennial enables an artist and an art dealer to do.”
Is that true? Is it only the rate of price change that matters? Or does price stability (assuming a certain level has been achieved) matter to buyers, whether stability is defined as steady progression upwards or simply maintaining whatever prices are achieved without falling back?