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Central Bank Stoking the Art Bubble


Christie’s auction house in New York raked in $495 million in art sales Wednesday, setting the record for the the largest single evening of sales in auction history. The evening’s sales featured art by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The art market has been seeing high returns for several years now, but industry experts were still surprised by Wednesday’s record-breaking numbers. FT:

“No one knows if we have reached a peak or if these prices are just going to keep going higher. They were quite astounding, really eye-popping numbers,” said Dorsey Waxter, president of the Art Dealers Association of America, who attended the sale.

“There were works on paper that were considered just as valuable as those on canvas, which has never been the case,” she added.

This sale is a sign of tremendous frenzy and froth in the art industry right now. It’s obviously a bubble, and at some point it will burst, but for now the champagne corks are popping in the auction houses.

In the meantime, industry experts will be curious about the broader economic trends driving this bubble. The FT ascribes some of these sales to the influx of foreign investment, but central bank easing policies in America and across the globe may be playing a part, driving nervous investors to put their cash in assets like gold or, in this case, art.

[Painting image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Felipe Pait

    The price of gold has collapsed in the recent months. The argument in this post is therefore incorrect.

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