Colin Gleadell focuses on the growing clout of the UK’s regional auction houses which seem to be improving the quality of their wares:
during the past five years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of specialised sales as the most nimble salerooms adapt to changes in the market place, upping their games. This was led by the boom in Asian art, now on the wane, and by the replacement of out-of-fashion, low-value antique furniture with modern design where supply is plentiful and demand on the increase. Then it expanded to include modern, primarily British art. First out of the blocks were Mallams in Oxford and Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury, since when, the battle for lower-value modern art in the regions has intensified.
British art may be one of the avenues to growth but Gleadell points to another path as well. Indian art hasn’t fully recovered from the financial crisis nearly a decade ago. But it seems to be gaining momentum at the bottom of the price ladder:
Roseberys auctioneers in Crystal Palace, south London, is to launch specialised sales for modern and contemporary Indian art next month – and for modern sculpture in June – as it seeks to break into the highly competitive market for lower-priced modern art. In October 2014, it launched its first sale for modern and contemporary prints, and last year introduced modern and contemporary art from India and Pakistan into its Islamic sales. They now plan to hold two specialised sales a year. “It’s a growth area,” says Vicky Wonfor,” who heads Roseberys modern and contemporary art department. “It’s also very competitive, especially where Modern British art is concerned, so we are looking at underdeveloped areas to explore.” As Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams raise their thresholds for accepting goods for sale, Roseberys has become a referral point for goods value at under £1,000. “We have a good relationship with them all, especially Sotheby’s,” says Wonfor.
Market News: Indian flavour and art deco flair (Telegraph)
Art Sales: regional salerooms up their game (Telegraph)