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In Search of Quality & Value: A Return to Old Masters

In Search of Quality & Value: A Return to Old Masters

Giambattista Tiepolo’s Portrait of a lady as Flora

Emily Waldorf

October 12, 2009

Did you know that Jeff Koons, John Currin, and Damien Hirst all collect Old Masters?

All signs from the floundering fall and winter auctions (with the exception of the blockbuster one-off YSL sale) indicated that collectors are abandoning the overhyped contemporary market and returning to Old Masters and other traditional areas of collecting.

At this year’s Tefaf Maastricht, the world’s biggest art and antiques fair, prices for contemporary works were being cut up to 20% whereas Old Master prices held steady. Bloomberg cited New York dealer Richard L. Feigen, who commented on the relative inflation of contemporary art vis à vis Old Masters:

“The disparity in price rises between Old Masters and contemporary has been crazy…Some Old Master pictures haven’t increased in price in the last 20 years and there are people with a lot of cash at Tefaf looking for a place to park it.”

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