How You Can Tell If the Art Market Is Hot: Look At the Food

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The thing that matters most when determining if the art at auction is worthwhile is the food that’s served at the receptions beforehand. This is according to Robert J. Hughes, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has written extensively on the art market, and knows the signs of a healthy art season.

The thing that matters most when determining if the art at auction is worthwhile is the food that’s served at the receptions beforehand. This is according to Robert J. Hughes, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has written extensively on the art market, and knows the signs of a healthy art season. Here are a few tips:

  •     If at a reception for the art to be sold, where dealers, buyers and the press are invited, an auction house puts out hors d’oeuvres that are fancy and just a little expensive, it anticipates a healthy sales season.
  •     If it’s an open bar, the auction house expects that buyers will spend even more at the sales.
  •     If there are no waiters, it’s every man for himself, and the sale looks like a dud
  •     If they’re serving potato chips and pretzels instead of fancy hors d’oeuvres, try bidding on something – the auction house doesn’t expect much at all, so there are likely to be bargains

According to Hughes, these are just a few of the things that a beginner might be aware of to set himself apart at art world functions. That’s because for auction houses, appearances are part of what they’re selling. What they don’t realize is the impression they make if they’re not anticipating a great sale.

You may not be in the mood to buy yourself, but it’s always interesting to see what other people are dropping their millions on. Robert J. Hughes, the author of “Late and Soon,” a novel set in the art world in Manhattan, has followed this scene for years, and offers up a candid picture of how it works. He’s available to speak about the art world in general, and just what to look for each season.

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Betsy Steve

646-437-1208

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Betsy Steve

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