Despite stars, art market data shows ‘tepid’ market

Citing data from the Mei Moses World All Art Index, Saturday’s New York Times poured cold water on the “hyperbolic enthusiasm” of auctioneers and dealers following a slew of record-breaking results in recent weeks. James B. Stewart, writing for the NYT’s ‘Common Sense’ column highlights some interesting indicators:

… the market for fine art declined 3.3 percent in 2012, and gained 2.2 percent through November [2013], even with the recent record-setting sales […] By comparison, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index gained 13.4 percent in 2012 and is up more than 27 percent so far this year.

Some sectors of the market are performing above average – postwar, contemporary art and traditional Chinese art, buoyed by increasing numbers of wealthy Chinese collectors.

Mr. Moses said his data indicated that traditional Chinese art had gained a compounded annualized rate of return for the 10 years ending in 2012 of 15.5 percent. Postwar and contemporary art gained 11.6 percent. By contrast, old master paintings gained only 3.3 percent and American paintings just 1 percent. And the overall index gained 7.4 percent.

Read more: Record Prices Mask a Tepid Market for Fine Art