The Present Asian Art Market as of Spring 2020

It is perhaps ironic that great collections of Asian art were formed in America and Europe during the world wide depression years of the 1930’s. For example, Maude Vettlesen, a wealthy collector who bought from Stanley Charles Nott formed a great collection of white and spinach green jades. Nott was prolific and wrote many of his catalogs during this period which today bring thousands of dollars paid by collectors. The Vettlesen Collection itself was in the Smithsonian Institution for decades. Today it resides in the Birmingham Museum of Art.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has resulted in major auction houses and Asian art Fairs to be cancelled or postponed. Galleries are shuttered. However interest in Asian art continues through the internet. My firm has been busy appraising major collections of Asian art during this period. Our On Line Auction format is off to a good start. I suggest that collectors take a deep breath. Continue with your study and asking questions. The beauty of the internet is that anyone can deep dive and continue to have contact from all over the world.

I suspect that prices may be off by 40% of their pre-Covid levels. However significant cultural objects will continue to bring substantial prices. The lower end of the market will remain unchanged in price level. It is the broad middle range of Asian art that will experience the most downward pressure in prices. If you are a collector and are concerned what your collection is worth in terms of Fair Market Value, I recommend you have a competent specialist appraiser advise you, especially if you are considering to sell. If not, hold on and wait for the world economy to correct itself. Remember, there is no loss realized until and if you sell. I predict there will be some bargains for the astute collector in the mix. My firm is open for business and ready to advise collectors and museums. Take care and be safe!

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