Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pragmatic decision-making department

The new buyers of art are a little more circumspect...

Gone are the new rich — the Russian oligarchs and oil-rich Middle Easterners, as well as the American hedge fund magnates — who in flush times were willing to pay any price. Gone too are the Europeans who were active when the weak dollar made their purchases seem cheap. Today’s buyers tend to be older collectors who bowed out of the market when prices began escalating several years ago. These patrons have far more conservative tastes, preferring works by tried-and-true names like Alexander Calder or Robert Ryman rather than those by younger artists like Takashi Murakami or Damien Hirst who were snapped up by speculators and have now lost some 50 percent of their value.
What is selling, said Brett Gorvy, a co-head of Christie’s postwar and contemporary-art department, is “the right artist and the right work.”

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