19th Century Art: Investment opportunity or dying market?
It is important to set a few boundaries when we describe the sudden crises that 19th century art has been going through in the past 5/10 years.
First of all, when we describe 19th century art we are not talking about Impressionism, which is regarded as a separate movement that still maintains great allure and fascination for collectors. Secondly we are not either taking in consideration the great masters of this century such as Giovanni Boldini or William Turner, which still achieve great results.
In fact, excellence always sells. The real troubles come when we analyse the majority of middle/low priced works. In the past 10 years, dealers and auction houses have seen a drastic decrease on the demand for 19th century paintings.
The Accademy period, which used to sell so well to the past generations, begun to look tired to the eyes of young and rich collectors, which rather now collect post-war and contemporary art. Definitely more fashionable and in line with the interior contemporary design.
Is there an artistic or quality related reason for that? I do not think so.In fact, the 19th century encapsulates the finest selection of painters and art from all over the old continent. Wheather you are looking for a Realist painting or a Romantic one, 1800 is the century you are looking for.
Perhaps, the great offer that this century has to offer, from Barbizon school to Orientalism has always created confusion on the vast production of the period, afterall, we live in rapid times and there is little will to discover the rich production of this century.
Orientalist works represent the new trend for Middle East investors, and artists such as Ludwig Deutsch and Alberto Pasini have increased in price giving new hope to the depressed market of 19th century art.
Now, this could be considered as an opportunity, moving away from the Accademy and a so called Victorian conception of art made of landscape and embracing Orientalism. At least, this is what the new Turkish and Arabs collectors are indicating us.
The art market, as many other trades, follows the trend of the moment.
The solution to this problem? Do not buy to earn, buy what you love.