John Chamberlain (1927-2011) Untitled (from the Foil series), circa 1972. Aluminum foil with acrylic lacquer and polyester resin 5 x 4-1/4 x 5-1/4 inches. Artists. (12.7 x 10.8 x 13.3 cm). Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions
Why is it important for young artists to follow art auction news and trends? This was the question we attempted to answer in our recent article Young Artists Will Benefit Art Auction News and Trends. In preparing for the article, we contacted artists, auctioneers and other art professionals for comments. As expected, the views on how following art auction news and trends will benefit young artists is very complex and stimulating. Eric Bradley, Public Relations Associate at Heritage Auctions put it succinctly. Commenting on the views expressed by some of the people interviewed, he notes: ‘It is provocative and I certainly hope it helps further the conversation on young artists and auction trends.’
Eric’s comment touches on the main reason for examining ‘Why it’s important for young artists to follow art auction news and trends.’ As a way of giving our readers a clear insight into the complexities surrounding this issue, we are here presenting some of the comments unedited. They are absolutely riveting.
Leon Benrimon, Director, Modern & Contemporary Art, New York, Heritage Auctions
“Having been both a gallerist to young artists and an auction house specialist I can report that the auction market is not designed for representation and sale of young artist’s works. Auction is a secondary marketplace where collectors and estates offer property either because they are changing their collection, must sell for financial reasons, or their heirs sell for equitable distribution of estate funds.
Certainly auctions are a wonderful opportunity to see great works of art which often pass between private collectors and may not be seen again for years. Young artists may take note of trends but they should not be overly affected by what they see at one moment of time – they should work hard on their own vision and hopefully they will be represented by an art gallery who finds their vision compelling and is well connected with the collecting community. If collectors start selling their works later, for the reasons noted, they will then start creating a secondary market record, but an artist should hope for their artworks to remain in a collectors hands for a while.
There are many levels of the marketplace. Gallerists traditionally dislike auctions because a sought-after artist can raise public prices for that artist too quickly and create a very speculative market based in part on the idea of scarcity. That may make the artist’s market very unstable over a very short period of time, leading some collectors to avoid it entirely. Alternatively, if an artist is brought to auction entirely too soon and their works fail to sell, or sells very low, it’s possible that the public record of that auction will impede sales for that artist in the future.
Focusing on their artistic abilities and creativity is ultimately more important than any auction result!”
“Focusing on their artistic abilities and creativity is ultimately more important than any auction result”
“Why is it important for young artists to follow art auction news and trends? As determined I would not confirm this statement. In our time I can see that young artists can easily be overwhelmed by all the daily influences in the global art scene. Separating the wheat from the chaff costs too much time and requires experiences they don’t have. On the contrary they should learn to focus on their own works and not to be unsettled by all the current news and trends.
Art with depth, which also has something to say and not merely follows a hype, is what I expect from the contemporary art and this is unfortunately stifled by too much background noise.
After the focused period and with a well-filled backpack , the matured and experienced artist has to bring his work to the public. Not auctions but galleries and media will help him to take part in the big competition.”
“In our time I can see that young artists can easily be overwhelmed by all the daily influences in the global art scene. Separating the wheat from the chaff costs too much time and requires experiences they don’t have.”
“I believe any professional should be wholly aware or be educated about his or her industry. It is important to understand how the art industry works, especially the financial aspect of it so one don’t get swindled. Following trend is not necessarily for an artist to start doing what everyone is doing, but to be aware of what others are doing. There is knowledge to be gained in every experience as a creative person. Auction can also help artists to know which artist is selling and how much they are selling for. It is advisable to know that auction prices are not to be used solely as yardstick for measuring the market value of an artist’s works or be used to set prices.”
“I believe any professional should be wholly aware or be educated about his or her industry. It is important to understand how the art industry works, especially the financial aspect of it so one don’t get swindled.”