The Irish Art Market–Meltdown?

Things are not looking too good for sellers of Irish art. Following the poor showing at Bonham’s in London on 9th February, when many lots failed to sell despite generally low estimates (at least by the standards of recent years), last night’s sale at Whyte’s in Dublin (click for online catalogue) must have been a sombre affair. Out of 290 lots, 106 failed to sell and many of those that did were within their low estimates. Not surprisingly in light of the economic situation in Ireland, it would appear that the Irish art boom is over,at least for the moment. For the bold,that means it is a time to buy. But it may be many years before prices recover to their boomtime prices, if ever. The next sales are an extremely high quality sale in London, at Sotheby’s, on 29th March and then 2 key sales in Dublin at the other major auction houses, de Vere’s on 30th March, and Adam’s on 6th April. The catalogues for the Dublin sales are not yet available. The auction houses must be looking on with some trepidation.