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Art Market Recovery? — Blue Heron Fine Art Blog

Art Market Recovery?

by Jim Puzinas on November 4, 2009

As an art dealer who exhibits at several antique shows over the course of the year, I am often offered a broader perspective on the health of the arts and antiques community. Having not exhibited at any show in the past 6 months, I didn’t know what to expect when I set up my stand at last week’s Hartford Fall Antiques Show. Was the economic uncertainty that pervaded every aspect of the economy this year, still holding collectors back from their purchases? Or had the recent stock market rally and the government rescue efforts been enough to jumpstart the antiques and fine art business?


Blue Heron Fine Art at the 2009 Hartford Fall Antiques Show

Attendance was steady, but light on Saturday. Excuses given were the weather, 70 degrees and sunny, Halloween, most couples with children had to get ready by 2pm, the economy, and yes, even the fear of contracting the H1N1 virus. The real test would be on Sunday.

I was pleasantly surprised! Attendance on Sunday, was much stronger with many of our regular collectors coming out to be tempted. Two lovely paintings found homes, a lovely impressionistic landscape by J. J. Enneking and a colorful and bold work by Harriet Randall Lumis. We reconnected with old clients, established a new one, and met many new friends who were eager to learn more about our fine art offerings.  A nice surprise was actually meeting a “fan” of the gallery from the social networking site Facebook, who took the time out of her day to come in and see what all the fuss was about! 


Paintings sold at the Hartford show by John Joseph Enneking, "The Pasture" (above) and Harriet Randall Lumis, "The Red Cottage" (right).










 Although we chose to only bring traditional paintings to this venue, demand for modernist pieces was evident with a particularly beautiful Irene Rice Pereira work being offered by one exhibitor that went out on approval on Sunday.  This modernist trend has been underfoot in the art market over the last several years, as many younger, and several older collectors expand their American collections to include paintings from the 1940’s and into the 1960’s. Additional evidence of this was seen last week at Shannon’s Auction House in Greenwich, CT where modernist works by Rolph Scarlett traded at 2 or 3 times their high estimate. 

To be fair, although the show was a solid one for the gallery, it still was not at the same level as many of the Spring shows that we exhibit at in this building. Should the economy hold together and strengthen from here, I can only see additional demand building for the art market. I am off to exhibit at the prestigious Boston International Fine Art Show next week with a mix of traditional and modernist pieces.  Hopefully, we can build on the success of last weekend. Would it be too early to say that perhaps the art market is back?


Lori Woodward November 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Nope, I do see that the art market is indeed coming back. It may not match sale during the boom, but it’s on the upswing for galleries out west.

Jim Puzinas November 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm

That’s good news, Lori. Sometime we listen to the “news” too often which is often times very negative. It is nice to get a real hands on feel from other artists and gallerists as well. I should know more about the strength of both the contemporary market and the market for traditional non-living American artists that I deal with after next weekend when I exhibit at the Boston Interational Fine Art Show. I’ll report after that show.

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