Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Art as commodity


Back on the 25th AA Bronson wrote in a comment that "Art is not a commodity." In today's New York Times Eduardo Porter reports about the Fine Art Management Fund and some academic studies by economists about the prices of art.

Some cool quotes from the Times' article:
They found that the compound annual rate of return of art from 1953 to 2003 was 12.1 percent, slightly higher than the Standard and Poor's 500 stock index.

Mr. Moses said he and Mr. Mei are also putting together a pricing model based on variables including the number of times an artwork work has been exhibited, written about or sold. And their analysis can provide some benchmarks.

...many art dealers tend to mistrust these economic approaches to art. Andre Emmerich, the New York collector and dealer, argues that there is no systematic method that can measure the shifting tastes that ultimately dictate the value of art in the market.
Using Google Scholar, finding the original articles is fairly simple. Professors Mei and Moses wrote "Art as an Investment and the Underperformance of Masterpieces." A quick scan also reveals Determinants of Prices for Contemporary Art in Dutch Galleries, 1992–1998, and A Study of Sale Rates and Prices in Impressionist and Contemporary Art Auctions and Art Auctions: A Survey of Empirical Studies.

Which lead me to this magazine, the Journal of Cultural Economics.

While Mr. Bronson is technically correct that art ain't a commodity, Ignoring all economic information and details about it is not a good idea. I gotta go now, I have some serious reading that needs to be done.

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