Not a Great Time to Be an Artist

Top financier predicts sharp downturn in market
By Eleanor Villforth,  Newser User
Posted Apr 3, 2008 5:50 PM CDT
Auction and private sales at Sotheby's and Christie's International alone totaled $12.5 billion in 2007, but the last year's staggering art prices cannot continue.   (Getty Images (by Event) Individuals)
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(Newser) – The exploding art market may be about to deflate: New York’s flurry of contemporary art fairs last week had surprisingly good sales in light of the economic times, reports Portfolio, but the president of one of the nation’s most active lenders against art predicts a sharp downturn from last year’s incredible $12 billion sales—and a "flight to quality" that could leave emerging artists in the cold. 

Sobering signs abound, such as estate-tax fraud—people just “taking paintings down off the wall and giving them to heirs”—and a swing in taste toward more conservative art that  echoes Renaissance and Old Master styles. The market has already "moderated," says one art dealer. "Last year there were more $3 million and $4 million pictures."