Recession Watch

Recession Splatters Art Market

It's a tough time to be selling art, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sotheby's expects its spring auctions to make $179 million to $256 million, down from $411 million last fall and $742 million last spring. The recession has finally come to the art market, despite the fact that prices climbed after the start of the credit crisis in 2007, when investors moved their money from intangible stock markets to gold and art. That investment pattern causes the art market to lag behind the financial markets by at least a year. Apparently, to avoid devaluing works bought at inflated pre-recession prices, investors are holding on to their big-ticket paintings by stars like Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Instead, cerebral art by lesser known artists popular with museum curators will carry the day.