2015 will be a fascinating year for the art market – government fiscal policy in the US is finally starting to show signs of tightening; perhaps leading to fewer major collectors being quite so awash with cash. Though economic growth in the US is stronger than it has been (since the market crash in late 2008) these days there seems to be less of a direct mutuality, in the US at least, to art-buying and the overall economy. The art market is now entirely International at the top end thanks to both the internet and international art fairs, ensuring that while we might see slower growth in the US we should see stronger numbers in Europe as Mr Draghi probably starts to print money in 2015.
I don’t quite envisage ‘more of the same’ (with regard to 100m USD sales every season) but I do think that the middle market from 1-5m USD will perform better this year. We have seen auction houses do well at the top end of every sector but lower down the food chain Sotheby’s and Christie’s have seen a lot of bought in lots. I think the Day Sales will get stronger too at both houses and Paris will start to see better figures as investors pile into tangible assets such as fine art.
The very best works on paper by the top names should be worth following long term. I suggest watching out for relatively strong results in the Impressionist and Modern Art Market as buyers look for stronger names to invest in as they shy away from the volatility of Contemporary art. Sadly, unless a masterpiece appears on the market I fear the Old Masters will continue to flounder – with 19th Century paintings following suit.
Georgina Adam recently wrote a superb piece in the Art Newspaper on the forthcoming year. You can access the site via this link:
The most significant point of all is the fall of the dealers in the primary market. This is a dangerous occurrence and stands to hinder the quality of young artists. When the major galleries fail to sign new names and rely solely on ‘not for sale’ shows of established artists we will lose a generation of talent that deserves recognition. I was amazed at Frieze how many of the major works were artists in their 50s and 60s. That said, there are a few good new names arising from the best London galleries – Sadie Coles and Thomas Dane being the best talent-spotters in the UK for contemporary British art.