One cannot begin this article on the Art market in 2018 without mentioning “Salavator Mundi” Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, which recently sold for $450 million. It may be too late to save Christ, but this sale may just save the art market. The price paid eclipsed the previous record of $300 million for a De Kooning in 2016. The art world loves record breaking sales like Hollywood loves box office shattering movies. Respected commentators are predicting an old masters revival and prices to reach new benchmarks in 2018. I wonder what Leonardo would make of this king’s ransom price tag on his work of art.
Art Market Movements & Trends
The purchase by Sotheby’s of Art Agency Partners, the art advisory business, for $85 million in 2016, has seen a move toward more private sales in the art market. Auctions have more media fizz in them but some buyers like their privacy to be protected from the glare of the paparazzi. The movement of more old masters will generate controversy, with possible export bans and heritage issues flaring up. Securing hundreds of millions of dollars may encourage more owners to risk the outrage anyway.
How Art is Marketed in the 21C
The marketing of art is another realm in itself; and we are seeing more high-profile art expos like Art Expo New York. These exhibitions sell exhibition space like at any trade show and promise audiences and industry contacts. The growing popularity of these mega events is changing how art is marketed in the twenty first century. Some of the exclusivity is fading from the buying and selling of art and it is being opened up to a wider audience and market. Art Basel in Miami was one of the first of these events to showcase huge amounts of art to huge audiences.
Art Must Be Entertaining
Art must be entertaining, first and foremost, to attract the attention of buyers and dealers alike. Betting on your art world investments is like any other form of gambling, they need form, pedigree and talent. If these things are in place, then, there is every chance that the value of your art may well rise appropriately. Backing winners in the art world is fraught with danger. Many of the most successful art investors stress that they always buy art that they like. Having something up on your walls that moves you is the smartest move to make.