“Ideally any tightening of the rules would be self-imposed,” said Michael Plummer, a former Christie’s executive who is now a principal in Artvest Partners, an art advisory company. “Unfortunately I don’t think the markets are going to have the discipline to do that.”
Incrementally Positive Takes from Citi’s Proprietary 5/9/12 Call on Auction Industry with Artvest LLC — (1) Art market has returned to its pre-crisis size at $64.9mm in 2011 vs. $62-$66 in 2007-2008 with strong potential to increase again in 2012; (2) Sotheby’s has become the most dominant player in NY for Impressionist/Modern; (3) China now the world’s largest consumer of art at 30% vs. US 29%.
No one wants to ruin the entertainment value of a night out at the auctions, but contemporary art has enough credibility problems without unnecessary murkiness. “Industry practices need to catch up with the value of art today”, argue Michael Plummer and Jeff Rabin of Artvest Partners, a firm of art-investment advisors. “We need to require a higher standard of transparency and ethical behaviour because so much money is at stake.” Regardless of the money involved, the market would be considerably fairer and more open if the auction houses reported real prices, disclosed the reserve prices—and named the third-party guarantors as well.
Artvest Partners’ Strategic Views and Analysis on the Art Market, Chinese Collector Trends, and Auction Season Sale Prices