With Art Basel 2009 on the way, many are beginning to wonder the economics behind the Art industry. According to Art Price’s Art Market Confidence Index, art prices have dropped 37% since January 1, 2008, when the art market first showed signs of weakness.
There are some indications that it’s headed in the right direction, though. Art Price does state that the third quarter is almost always weak. Only 12% of auction lots sold during all third quarters over the past ten years, and low sales volumes usually mean low prices.
During the first quarter of this year however, the art market hit its worst point when art prices were down 38 % over the previous 15 months. Values plunged and everyone began to think that conditions would only get worse. Prices edged up 1.2% after the first quarter, but a slow summer didn’t result in any real progress.
Art Price sees the November results as promising, with seasonally adjusted growth for the Post-War period up 2.1% since March and the Old Masters picking up 4.5%. For the past two quarters, only 38% of lots failed to sell, and it looks like October and November will stay consistent with this pattern.