All the recent talk of the falling price of gold combined with a look back at the first half of 2015’s art sales raised an interesting question about whether art was still “behaving like gold” in the marketplace. Remember, one thesis about the increased value of art over the last 15 years is that art prices are driven by global liquidity. So we asked Artnet to provide some numbers on the average price of fine art for each year of the last decade. They came through with the data represented by the blue line in the chart above.
From that data, you can see that only this year did art exceed its 2007 peak average price across all categories. Meanwhile, the price of gold rose steadily through the boom years and into the panic surrounding the credit crisis and its aftermath. The average price of gold peaked in 2012 but its absolute peak price was in September of 2011 which seems to have coincided with the recovery in art prices. Surprisingly, after a dip in 2012 the average price of art started to climb again with this Winter and Spring seeing a dramatic acceleration. Those numbers may temper or even falter in the second half bringing the rise back in line with previous years. But there’s no denying that Gold and art are currently moving in opposite directions and have been for two and a half years.