Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 Western Art Auction Guide

It's hard to believe that I've been in the Western art industry for 10 years!  I've seen a lot in those ten years, but a few things that stand out to me are how many more auctions there are today compared to ten years ago, and the impact of having information at our fingertips.  Collectors are more savvy than ever, and the days of dealers purchasing rare works and selling them at exorbitant mark ups is all but over.  It's as easy as whipping out your phone to find out what works by specific artists go for, and to gauge the market for deceased artists.  That's why I take the approach of education, where if you know as much as me, then you understand why a painting is priced the way it is.  In the American Western art market, specialized auctions play a huge role in the acquisition and liquidation of Western and wildlife art.  Not all auctions are created equal, so consider all your options if you're considering selling.  Here is a breakdown of the major Western art auctions for 2016, so you can plan your travels accordingly, and if you can't make it to a sale, contact me and I am happy to represent you in bidding, inspection, and research for works you may be interested in adding to your collection. Stay tuned, because I'll be following this up with the Museum calendar of events.  I hope to see you on the Western art trail!

Brian Lebel's Old West Events
January 23, 2016  ~  Mesa, Arizona

The Russell:  An Exhibition & Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum
March 17-19, 2016  ~  Great Falls, Montana

March in Montana:  Presented by Manitou Galleries & The Coeur d'Alene Art Auction
March 17-19, 2016  ~  Great Falls, Montana

Altermann Auctions
March 31 & April 1, 2016  ~  Scottsdale, Arizona
August 12-13, 2016  ~  Santa Fe, New Mexico
November 13, 2016  ~  Santa Fe, New Mexico

Scottsdale Art Auction
April 2, 2016  ~  Scottsdale, Arizona

Bonhams: California & Western Paintings/Sculpture Auction
April 12, 2016  ~  Los Angeles, CA

Fredericksburg Art Auction
April 30, 2016  ~  Fredericksburg, Texas

Heritage Auctions:  American Art Signature Auction
May 7, 2016  ~  Dallas, Texas

Coeur d'Alene Art Auction
July 23, 2016  ~  Reno, Nevada

Jackson Hole Art Auction
September 16-17, 2016  ~  Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale
September 23-24, 2016  ~  Cody, Wyoming

Great American West Auction
October 29, 2016  ~  Grapevine, Texas

Santa Fe Art Auction
Fall 2016 - Date to be Announced  ~  Santa Fe, New Mexico

Phew! Remember, don't hesitate to comment below and share your thoughts!

Friday, January 15, 2016

3 Factors Affecting the Art Market in 2016

Happy  New Year!  I thought the turning of the calendar to a new year was a great time for us to take a look at trends and events we think will affect the western art market in the upcoming year.  Stay tuned for the 2016 auction calendar of events, museums to visit, artists to watch in both the historical Western market and contemporary Western market, and of course, ideas and art news on building a valuable lasting collection.  Let me begin with three factors I think will affect the Western art market in 2016.

Black Gold by Andy Thomas
The first factor is the price of oil.  While there are some in the market who will disagree, I think this is by far the biggest factor to impact not only prices but the supply of western art to hit the market.  Over the last few years many of the new collectors that have come into the market have been from the oil sector.  We have seen this trend in our dealings at the Charles Russell western art week in Great Falls, various auctions, and through my conversations with collectors. New found wealth from North Dakota has provided new buyers the last few years. The question is will those buyers be back?

The second factor is the rise of more art auctions specializing in Western art.  While The Coeur d'Alene Art Auction remains the premier auction, with the Scottsdale sale following them, there have been several new auctions hitting the scene including the Fredericksburg auction, Great American West auction, and a renewed focus on classic Western art by larger auction houses like Christies, Sothebys, Bonhams and Heritage. All of these sales are fighting for top quality works and there just aren't enough great paintings to go around.  In our circle of collectors, we hear more and more grumbling because of the high premiums charged to both the buyer and sellers (in fact - the commissions I charge to liquidate a collection or a single painting is often less than most auctions houses charge). I've also noticed the buy-in rate or pass rate at auctions is increasing.  Academic research by Beggs and Graddy shows that a pass on a painting at auction will in effect have a 30% decline in the value of the painting.  Another effect from the glut of auctions is the amount of sub-par works that are being offered.

Finally, the third factor is the increased competition for quality works by sought after artists.  Where getting works to their galleries used to be a high priority for artists, now there are museum shows, the above mentioned auctions, and an increased number of commissions.  As the collection factors for artists grow, so do the demands placed on them.  Whether you're purchasing from a gallery, auction, museum show, or directly from the artist, explore all your options when acquiring new works.  Lean on your trusted resources in the industry, and as I always say, don't hesitate to pull the trigger!