A brief review of our market analytics shows that major economic events quickly ripple through the art world and depress performance. All collections are impacted by these events. However, some specific artists and types of art are quicker to recover than others.
The analysis points to some rather obvious narratives. First, collectors should avoid parting with any artworks at the onset of a recession, particularly if they are in possession of blue-chip works by artists in their collection. On the other hand, if in need of liquidity, consigning a quality artwork from the right blue-chip artist or work will almost certainly lead to a completed transaction, though at values that may not be at market peak level.
Secondly, artists who are more universally appreciated can weather recessions better than emerging artists who may only be of interest by more regional or less traditional collectors. Third, these are times when collectors should be in acquisition mode.
The data also points to some more interesting phenomena, however. On the one hand, some specific artists’ works were ostensibly unaffected by the recession. This would suggest that a growing appreciation in the work of an artist can be more important than global economic events in determining performance, and that artists like Calder, as well as blue-chip artists like Picasso or Warhol, can buck wider economic trends and demonstrate a surprising degree of stability, while other artists cannot.
Without adequate data, collectors will often be at a loss to discern which artists will perform well, regardless of economic environment, and which works can offer the greatest stability. Ultimately, it’s not about timing the buying or selling of their works during economic fluctuations, but identifying artists who consistently have stable transactional markets.