Scott Reyburn does an excellent job pulling together a few disparate stories to show the current state of the flippable end of the emerging art market. With all three houses gearing up for their mid-season emerging art sales later this month, the news that overall volume for works being sold fewer than three years from their creation is down 23% so far this year should make these sales an interesting market test:
In February 2014, a 2012 “Rain” painting by Lucien Smith, 26, one of about 200 made by the New York artist by spraying paint on a canvas with a fire extinguisher, was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in London for 224,500 pounds, about $372,000, more than 30 times its original purchase price. This May, at Phillips in New York, a Smith “Rain” painting of the same size and year was auctioned for $62,500.
“People with foresight have stopped buying this kind of art,” said Kenny Schachter, a collector, dealer and writer in London who has been buying emerging contemporary works for more than 25 years. “There was a bubble of fashionable artists. People made a lot of money, and people lost a lot. Artists in their 20s just shouldn’t be selling for almost $400,000.” According to research by the salesroom result database Artnet, contemporary works created within the preceding three years generated $217.4 million of auction sales in the first half of 2014. Sales of such works declined 23 percent, to $167.5 million, during the equivalent period this year.
Emerging Art Cools Down (The New York Times)