Art Market Regulation?

The Art Newspaper recently ran a very interesting article on some of the difficulties the art market has with fake and fraudulent activity.  Much can be attributed to the strong overall financial growth of the art market since the early 1990s.  The article references a NY Times opinion pieces stating the art market should have more government regulation.

The Art Newspaper article takes a different approach, looking at a continuation of a self regulating market place with emphasis on scholarship such as catalogues raisonnés, clarity of middleman activity,  and responsibility (refunds by galleries, certificate of authentication such as in NY with a four year term, etc).

A very good article and a lot for the appraiser to think about.

The other key pillar of the self-regulating market is the scholarship that produces reliable catalogues raisonnés. But, the field appears increasingly under threat. The troubling retreat of scholars in the case of a group of Francis Bacon drawings (The Art Newspaper, December 2011, pp1, 8) indicated that experts, fearful of costly lawsuits, are shying away from taking a public stance on what is, or is not, a legitimate work.

Scholars simply cannot keep up with the speed of online pricing databases, skewing the balance between an artist’s critical reception and their market value. Worse, catalogues raisonnés can be fallible: Yoshitomo Nara recently declared two works in his own catalogue, a project he vetted himself, to be fakes.

Nevertheless, such publications remain vital. While Asher Edelman, a pugnacious art dealer and former Wall Street trader, says he knows about some genuine Pollock paintings that are not officially recognised, he would not touch them. “It has to be in the catalogue raisonné,” he says.

Ultimately, the best way to protect the art market—and address the issue of regulation—is to safeguard scholarship: this underpins an artists’ value, provides proof of provenance and lubricates an expanding market. As the art business continues to globalise, its growth depends upon making scholarship reliable and accessible. Because, in the end, the experts are the only candidates who can provide the adult supervision the market desperately craves.
Source: The Art Newspaper

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