On a red hot day, in the summer of 2008, I sat down in my rainforest retreat near Byron Bay, on the east coast of Australia, and began writing about my experiences during 40 years in the commercial art market. I had opened my first art gallery in 1977, had been the Managing Director of Australia’s largest fine art auction house for a number of years, and was by then an independent art consultant and the owner of Australia’s oldest Aboriginal art gallery.
During the following year, the global financial crisis hit and the great international art bubble burst. Collectors watched in dismay as the value of their art and antiques dropped by up to 40%. It seemed like a catastrophe, but it was really just a hiccup. It has happened many times before, but those who were closely affected naturally couldn’t see it that way. In the long term, the market for collectables continues to go from strength to strength.
Over the next six years I wrote one million words about how the art market works and three separate projects emerged.
The first was a website, devoted to the art of the 200 most important artists of the Australian Aboriginal art movement. It examines, in depth, the lives of these artists and the most important works that they created, along with an analysis of the performance of their artworks at auction. The market statistics provided are dynamic, updated instantly from auction results as listed by the influential Australian Art Sales Digest.
The second project was a book relating my own experiences and the story of the modern Aboriginal art movement, the most exciting and transcendent chapter in the recent Australian art history. It tells how, within the space of just 40 years, indigenous artists transformed the perception of their culture from something of strictly ethnographic interest into one of the great internationally acclaimed contemporary art movements of all time. The book is called The Dealer is the Devil and you can read more about that here.
The blog that follows is the third and final project. It will be posted fortnightly here in this section entitled ‘How to Collect Aboriginal Art’. You can sign up to the marketplace mailing list to receive the latest instalment into your inbox. It provides a detailed account of how the art market works. How to buy and sell art, and how to be a winner. Although the specific examples used throughout the text relate to Australian Aboriginal Art, the vital information imparted is universally true of the market for every asset class and style of art, antiques and collectables in every country of the world.
If you are interested in collecting absolutely anything, from souvenir spoons to vintage cars, from rare books to OpArt, you will find the information in this book invaluable. In fact, it could well be the most important publication to guide and accompany you on your path as a collector.
I wish you happy and successful collecting.