Scott Reyburn is trying to make sense of the London Contemporary sales. The numbers overall were good. But not as high as the same set of sales in 2012. Here Scott Reyburn raises some excellent points in the International New York Times: committed buyers seem to be returning to the market again and again. If, as Reyburn speculates below, these buyers only scratch the surface of those with the means to buy art, we may be at the beginning of a trend:
But was the rise in overall sales a result of new clients entering the market, or was it simply that existing buyers were spending more money? There weren’t many new faces to be seen at these London sales, as there hadn’t been at Basel. Paradoxically, if that is the case, and new buyers aren’t flooding into the upper reaches of the art market in the way they did in 2007 and 2008, then it is less likely that the current expansion represents, as many people suspect, a speculative bubble. […]
At Christie’s post-auction press conference, Francis Outred, the company’s European head of contemporary art, said that although the evening’s buying had been dominated by established collectors, 190 clients from 28 countries had bid at the sale. That’s still just a tiny fraction of the world’s 199,235 individuals who each were estimated byUBS and the consultancy Wealth-X to have more than $30 million cash to spend in 2013. In other words, despite all the media reports devoted to the relentless growth of the art market, that night at Christie’s it remained the preserve of the 0.1 percent of the 0.1 percent.
London Auctions Cap a Go-Go Season (NYTimes.com)