Scott Reyburn zigs toward Japanese art while the market zags toward ArtBasel in Miami Beach. Here Reyburn makes the case for buying some great art that is in a moribund secular financial slump for the sheer joy of owning great work:
“Prices have been depressed for some time,” said Sebastian Izzard, a dealer in New York who specializes in Japanese prints. “But at least the market is solid, and there’s no bubble. You get a lot more bang for your buck with Japanese art.”
Mr. Izzard said that auction results were no longer an accurate barometer of the trade in prints. “A lot of prints went back to Japan in the 1980s and ended up in museums,” he said, which took many of them off the market.
The few high-quality examples that do become available for sale in the West tend to be traded privately by specialist dealers. Mr. Izzard said that last year he sold a rare Hokusai print for about $1 million, but he would not divulge the subject.
Nonetheless, museum-quality Japanese prints occasionally turn up at auction and can bring eye-catching prices. An exceptionally well-preserved print from 1794 of a female impersonator by Toshusai Sharaku sold for 275,000 euros with fees, about $290,000, at the Paris auctioneers Beaussant Lefèvre on Nov. 18. It carried a presale estimate of €30,000 to €40,000.
Classical Japanese Art Hangs On (The New York Times)