The 2017 art market is still no easier to predict than it was in January. Record sales at Asia Week in New York, strong reviews of Art Basel Hong Kong, and a confident line-up for TEFAF New York Spring all bode well. But many start-of-the-year concerns still loom.
A January report in Apollo Magazine quoted representatives from the three top auction houses expressing confidence in 2017. At the same time, Melanie Gerlis of the Financial Times predicted at least one of those auction houses would soon change hands, calling into question the authenticity of the previously mentioned optimism. A Chinese insurance company already purchased a 13.5 per cent stake in Sotheby’s last September. Additionally, multiple recent moves by Christie’s, such as announcing the closure of a London salesroom and cancelling some June sales, could indicate it is preparing for something big. In January, Georgina Adam of The Art Newspaper also expressed concerns regarding the effect of low cost oil on art buying, economic uncertainty regarding Brexit, and unknowns surrounding the Trump effect. Those issues are all still on the table, as are additional concerns regarding tensions between the US, China and North Korea.
Image caption: Art Basel in Hong Kong 2017 © Art Basel