This year promises to be an exciting one for collectors in every single collecting bracket. Economic headwinds caused by various international uncertainties seem to be the order of the day but here at Oliver Shuttleworth Fine Art we are keeping positive and upbeat because it is with shaky markets that opportunities arise! We will see some corrections in 2019, most noticeably in the Contemporary market, and I believe there will be countless galleries keen to sell great pictures at great prices.
2018 was a curious year for collectors. Sell-out booths at Art Basel Miami notwithstanding there was a sense of rebellion in the weak Hong Kong sales from buyers fed up with pandering to auction house offers of 3rd party guarantees. Admittedly, with weak sales come possibilities for those buying after-sale, but the Contemporary market in particular is well overdue a correction. However, I firmly believe that great paintings/sculptures with great provenance and rock-solid authentication will always command bigger prices year-on-year. There is simply so much demand that inflation in the market, at the top end, will continue throughout 2019.
The idea of Art as a commodity is here to stay but one must take care since fashions change and tastes have a tendency of following the new and not, necessarily, the better. That said, having a Picasso oil on one’s wall is certainly more interesting than a bar of gold and as tangible investments go art will be as much of a player as ever. While markets across the world re-calibrate it will interesting to see how the middle market in the art world reacts. The 2008 recession caused a 12 month blip on the Sotheby’s share price but it was business as usual in relatively speedy time as buyers sought value amongst Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary sectors. 2019 will be a fascinating year for us all.
The various key dates of the early part of 2019 are on the events page, but I am looking forward to the forthcoming exhibitions in Islington and Brussels keenly. The London Art Fair is a super fair for keenly-priced, Modern British, works of art with some wonderful galleries exhibiting such as Alan Wheatley, Gallery Nine and Piano Nobile. Vigo Gallery always have a good stand: the director Toby Clark has such a wonderful eye.
BRAFA in Brussels is, understandably, aimed more keenly at the international market with much of the big European galleries taking stands. The finest Art Informeland Zero is normally on view (Soulages, de Stael, Uecker, Piene etc.) so there is a great opportunity to acquire little known French/North European art with great market potential for the future. My personal pick is Alfred Manessier (1911-1993) who is crazily undervalued when compared with the likes of Hans Hartung and even Georges Mathieu.
In February I shall be in Florida for the Palm Beach Show (13th– 19thFebruary) and to visit friends old and new down the east coast. Then comes the Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art Sales in London the last week of February through to the first week of March. Those results shall be intriguing and may well assist the TEFAF art fair (mid-March) if prices prove buoyant.
Whatever 2019 has in store, we wish you a fun and fruitful year.