Scott Reyburn really knows how to make a point. Covering TEFAF this week, Reyburn quotes the fair’s art market report to show the overwhelming influence that Contemporary art is having on the broader market. Contemporary art was 48% of the overall market, according to TEFAF’s report, with nearly €6bn in sales. That’s a 19% increase from the year before. Worse still, around €2.5bn in sales were for just 20 different artists.
What’s the net effect of this crowding behavior? More recent artists get valued much more than obscure but exquisite works. Here’s how Reyburn puts it:
The 1851-52 painting “The Devout Childhood of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary” by Charles Allston Collins — friend of the painters John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt — is an even more spectacular discovery, being just about the only early Pre-Raphaelite school painting to have re-emerged in recent years. Retaining its original Millais-designed frame, and featuring a young Elizabeth Siddal as the model, the painting was made just three years after the foundation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and is offered by the Maas Gallery of London at €2.5 million, or about $2.7 million.
The price of this Pre-Raphaelite rarity makes an interesting comparison with, say, the £2.5 million, or about $3.8 million, paid on Tuesday for a 1998 Ed Ruscha “mountain” painting.
European Fine Art Fair Showcases Shaker Furniture (NYTimes.com)