BOSTON (Reuters) – The price of many pieces of American art has dropped precipitously, leaving many collectors looking to the arts market to get back on track, a spokesman for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts said on Monday.
The price of American works of art fell by more than half from a peak of $3.7 million in the late 1990s to $1.3 million in 2018, according to data compiled by the Boston Art Market.
The museum said it expects a further decline to $2 million in 2019.
The decline has been a boon for artists in Boston and across the country.
The art market in the United States has shrunk by more that $1 trillion since the recession, as buyers are increasingly wary of taking on more risk, said David W. Mankin, a Boston-based art market analyst and former chief executive of the New York-based Mankins Art Market, which tracks the market.
Art is no longer being driven by an appreciation in the value of art, he said.
In other markets, the art industry is not suffering a downturn.
A surge in interest in painting, ceramics and other mediums such as prints, sculpture and glass has helped bring back the art world and help bring back a little bit of vitality to the marketplace.
But the decline in the art marketplace is a big deal for the world of art.
The United States accounts for less than 1 percent of global gross domestic product, making it one of the world’s least-populated countries, according for 2017.
The collapse in the market means that artists can no longer afford to pay as much attention to the art-world calendar, Mankiks said.
It means artists will have less time to develop their art, Minkin said.
It also means that collectors are taking risks and taking a risk on art that they would not have done five years ago, he added.
In the art community, Minsk is trying to reinvigorate its art market, said Mark W. Smith, an associate professor of history at New York University.
Smith has written extensively about the art markets, and said the decline of the art scene is the latest sign that the art business is in decline.
“It is the new normal in art markets.
You are looking at a loss of vitality.
You see more and more art that is going to be lost to the public,” Smith said.
Art markets typically offer a snapshot of an art market and a glimpse into the future of an industry, Smith said, but in the end they can’t tell us much about the future.
The market is also at risk of losing its cachet, he noted.
“The art world will be more cautious,” he said, “and the art buyers will be less willing to pay for things that they don’t like.”
The Art Market in America has shrunk from more than $2.5 billion in 1990 to $750 million in 2017.
Mankin said that in 2017, collectors and dealers were not aware that the market had been so dramatically declining.
They were also not aware of the extent of the decline, Minsky said.
Minsky said it is important to remember that the Art Market is an art auction, not a marketplace for art.
The art market is not the same as the auction house.
Artists do not want to sell art for profit, he explained.
Art is not a business.
Art buyers want to experience something new and new to their collections, Minks said.
“There is something to be said for people who don’t want to spend money on a lot of stuff, especially if that’s because it is not their style,” Minsky added.
The Art Markets website provides more details about the decline.