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Label: sothebys

Friday 18th November 2016Can Trump Be Good for the Art World? Or....

It's probably fair to say that most artists generally find themselves on the more socially progressive side of the political spectrum. Facism, as an extreme of the right wing, is rarely the patron saint of the arts. Of course, extremes in any direction rarely appreciate the arts enough to cultivate them in a way that lets them thrive, but surely the election of Donald Trump has most artists stunned, outraged, or just downright depressed.

Except not every part of the art world is depressed about it, apparently - the auction houses are excited by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. It's moments like this that we reflect on why we stopped discussing the latest record-breaking sale from an auction house, and decided to focus more on living artists and their current works: in general, once art hits the auction house, it doesn't really have much to do with art anymore.

Instead, it's really nothing more than another part of an investment portfolio - which is surely at least partly why auction houses are the only part of the art world excited by the prospect of a Trump presidency. He's a billionaire, after all, and has enough capital to fill a whole bunch of gaudy gold frames.

"I think there's been a fairly good feeling among the art collectors this week," said Tad Smith, director of Sotheby's auction house in New York City, during an interview with CNBC. "There's just a lot of very wealthy people from all types of countries... and they have a lot of capital to deploy."

"Everywhere I go around the world, and really for almost 15 or 16 months, we've had a large group of buyers that have plenty of money to spend and they want to buy things. The trouble particularly in the last six to 12 months has been there hasn't been enough that they were offering."

"As long as we have a good, confident week, and I think we're going to do that, we're going to have more offered in the spring. That will free up the buyers. It's convincing those sellers that the buyers are there — that's the big opportunity."

Straight from the horse's mouth: it's not really about the art, it's about the extremely wealthy patrons who show up for Donald Trump's election that matter to them.

Posted on November 18th 2016 on 11:46pm
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