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The timing of major single-owner collections or trophy works coming on to the market has less to do with the general economic climate or with the perceived health of the art market but mostly to do with coincidence due to one of the three D’s (death, debt, divorce) occurring. In 2023 it will continue to be possible to generate solid guarantees for truly exceptional material.
The rush on red-hot emerging artists going from £10,000 to £1m+ in a matter of months will cool down, with the realisation that it can be a hot-potato competition; the last one in a rapidly increasing chain of buyers can easily be stuck and burnt holding it. However, the under-appreciation and representation of female artists in art history will continue to be revised upwards.The art market will witness, as it has done in the past, that when a wave that carries every artist from a certain type or genre settles, only the few very best will remain.
While the initial gold rush and fever has clearly cooled down, NFTs, digital art and the use of the blockchain in the art market are here to stay. In many ways it’s only the real beginning now, as was the case after the initial dot.com bubble burst 20 years ago.
Primary market auctions that have been started in 2022 by my own company de PURY and, subsequently by Sotheby’s and Hauser & Wirth, will begin to spread. Other top commercial galleries will start using the auction method to sell some of the most in-demand artists that they represent on the primary market. A charitable element will have to be linked to most auction activities.