One of the major sources of bedevilment in the Old Masters market is the squeeze facing Old Master dealers. We’re now seeing the results of that squeeze in Scott Reyburn’s report on Christie’s recent sale where dealers were effectively on strike. Though they seemed to be major suppliers to the sale, according to the New York Times:
[D]ealers, who have been struggling to sell their existing stocks of old masters in their galleries and at fairs, were conspicuously inactive as buyers at these evening sales. Christie’s said that just 3 percent of the value of its £65.4 million auction was represented by trade purchases.
“The dealers aren’t bidding,” said the London gallerist Jean-Luc Baroni. “It’s too dangerous. Everyone knows what you have paid for a painting and there are certain things that are completely out of fashion.”
Rubens Provides an Upbeat Close to London Auction Season (The New York Times)