Ever doubtful of the health of the art market, the Wall Street Journal takes the trend toward buying cheaper works related to famous artists as a sign of an overheated market. That may be but one could easily see this as a trend toward a broader interest in owning art:
“These are the names everybody knows—they feel safe for people, especially when no one quite knows exactly how long a good run is going to last,” said Meredith Hilferty, a director at Rago Arts & Auction Center in Lambertville, N.J.
In the last five years, roughly 17,000 limited-edition pieces, works on paper and paintings by 10 top artists including Marc Chagall, Joan Miró and Degas have sold at auction for $1,000 to $10,000—a 45% increase over works sold by the same artists a decade ago in a comparable price range, according to the auction database Artnet.
As lower-priced pieces enter the mainstream, some art experts bristle at what they see as a rising acceptance of irrelevant work with little artistic merit.
“Some of these things are indeed becoming financially valuable because they are praised by a growing number of ill-informed collectors,” Véronique Wiesinger, former director of the Giacometti Foundation, wrote in an email. “It no doubt reflects a loss of connoisseurship, from collectors and auction specialists.”