JERRY GOROSKI is the consultant appraisar to whom I refer inquiries about Scriver bronzes. He is formally trained and certified to do assessments and knew Bob Scriver as well as working for the CM Russell Museum in Great Falls. His gallery is called "Open Range Art."


Wednesday, April 05, 2006


This material comes from New York magazine (, an article entitled, “Five Theories On Why the Art Market Can’t Crash and Why It Will Anyway” by Marc Spiegler

The article wasn’t written about Western art, but it is relevant. The categories referred to are Impressionism and Modern (which have been dynamic for quite a while) and Postwar and Contemporary (which are just now taking off).

Here are the five theories:

1. “The Expanded Art World.” Up to twenty times more people are buying art now as in 1990.

2. “The Art World’s Gone Global.” The big recent contemporary-art collectors have been from Brazil, Mexico and South Korea. Next might be Russia and China -- maybe India or Arab emirates. For cowboy artists, Japan and Germany have always been happy. But an interesting “Western art” trend is paintings of and by Russians, Chinese, Mongolians, and so on.

3. “Art is the New Asset Class.”
Compares well with real-estate or bonds. Mei-Moses, two NYU economists, did a study that shows contemporary art compares well with the S&P 500. This is constantly pushed among some dealers.

4. “Diversification As a Safety Valve.”
Because there are so many different kinds of art (think of video, etc) the action rolls through them so that there are many small corrections to the big category of Art. This is probably less true of Western art, which is not so diverse. The diversity tends to be in the subject matter: still-life, landscape, portraits, wildlife, etc. All representational, if occasionally a little surreal or abstract.

5. “The Japanese.” The last boom (esp. in Impressionism) and bust (linked to a crashing Japanese real estate scene) were both Japanese, but they seem stable now.

Advice: Watch Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In the past they wouldn’t sell works less than ten years old, but now they’re taking works three or four years “out of the studio.” Though their sales are only a tiny part of the art market, they are so public that they tend to control impressions of how the art market is doing. If both major houses have failed auctions back-to-back, people will panic. But in fact, private and gallery sales might be quite different.

“The defining characteristic of the current art world is speed.” People are buying online after seeing “only a J-PEG” image, as opposed to having to travel to a different country and taking months to make a decision. “Speculators, private dealers and consultants” abound and can disappear overnight. (Posting JPEG versions of paintings in online catalogues for auctions has become very sensitive and may diminish online sales.)

The bad words are “correction, contraction or crash,” which mean that prices will be abruptly cut, galleries will disappear, and some artists will become unsaleable. (Anyone want to buy a pickled shark?) Some aspects of some artists (cheap prints) will be worthless. (Hello, Terpning.)

The bright side: Of course, great opportunity for those with reserve cash for buying! And all the softwood imitative artists will drift off to something easier -- maybe rodeo competition -- while those who truly love it for its own sake will continue to follow their vision and sharpen their skills. The best art is always done by hungry artists who aren’t distracted by cocktail parties and opportunists looking for someone to exploit.

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