Will the Market Roller Coaster Ride Affect the Fall Art Market?

The partners at the Coeur d'Alene Art Auction have to be breathing a sigh of relief that the drama in our market occurred after their sale.  Then again, would it have made that much of a difference?  With the drop in our country's credit rating, the dips in our stock market, and unemployment concerns still looming, many people have asked me how it's affected the art market.  While we're back to where we started before the most volatile week in the Dow Jones' history, there's still a lot of uncertainty looming.  Regardless, I think it's still a great time to acquire art.  There are some great buys out there, and historical works can be purchased at incredible values right now.  Also, the contemporary artists are hungry to make sales and are focusing on putting their best foot forward in each and every painting as they're realizing that not everything they paint is selling.

I think the low prices we saw late in 2008 and 2009 were a result of the lack of credit available after the real estate bubble burst.  When there's a lack of available credit, that means less cash in hand, and less cash changing hands.  However, interest rates are low and there seems to still be cash in the market and the results of Coeur d'Alene's recent sale is a good indication of how much cash is still out there.  They almost doubled their results from a year before.  I also just read an article in the Wall Street Journal today that banks are beginning to relax their lending standards a tad on certain loans.  Of course, it's still tight on the real estate side, but commercial and industrial loans have gotten competitive between banks and people are getting more auto and personal loans.  What does this mean for the art market?  As I mentioned before, more cash in hand, which means (hopefully) more paintings will be purchased.

It's been an active summer for collectors.  I don't notice as much hesitation as I did just a year ago, and for me, it's been a much more active summer than the last two years.  The art world is driven by the willingness of buyers and sellers to make transactions, whether it's between dealers, dealers and collectors or people just trying to liquidate their assets, until the supply or demand dries up, the art market will just keep plugging along.

At the end of the day, there's just too much uncertainty which creates a wait and see mentality.  There's no reason to panic, as our stock market has recovered and it doesn't appear that people are clutching their wallets like they were in 2008 or 2009.  The quality paintings are still going to sell, and it looks like the Jackson Hole Art Auction has put together a pretty nice sale.  The Fall Arts Festival in Jackson is always a nice event, and the recent Bonhams sale was very strong, so it's probably wise to be cautiously optimistic.


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