London's auction season has landed on a gentle low note, but that doesn't mean that nothing decent is being offered up. For savvy art collectors and investors, the downturn in price means an upturn in value and access to finer pieces at significantly more manageable costs. It does pose a problem for auction organizers, but not everyone can win.
The spring auctions here, which ended on Thursday night, were a sharp contrast to those that recently took place in New York. There was not a night in London over the last two weeks when sales reached nearly $500 million, as happened in May at the Christie’s evening sale of postwar and contemporary art in New York.
In fact, that one Christie’s auction almost eclipsed the total from all five of the evening auctions in London.
It’s been generally a struggle for Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips to gather property to sell. Unless a big estate comes up, or a collector is in financial trouble and needs cash, people these days are hanging on to their art rather than investing in the financial markets.