Friday, February 27, 2009

Chronology of the art crunch !

We have gathered some keys dates and events of the economic crisis and the main contemporary art auctions to show how the art market has followed the same declining trend as all other assets in the world (in bold, art related events):

July 10, 2007: So-called credit crunch starts with the downgrade of some $12 billion of subprime debt by rating agency S&P.

October 1, 2007: UBS announces $3.4 billion losses from sub-prime related investments; this announcement is the first of many to come.

January 21, 2008: global stock markets experience their most serious drop since 9/11.

March 17, 2008: JP Morgan acquires Bear Stern for $240 million; 12 months earlier, Bear Stern was valued $18 billion.

May 13, 2008: Christies sales for $348.26 million of post war and contemporary art.

May 14, 2008: Murakami’s “My Lonesome Cowboy” sells at Sotheby’s for $13.5 million while estimated $3-4 million. The auction achieved $362.03 million in 73 lots. During that auction Francis Bacon’ “Triptych 1976” sold for $86.28 million becoming the most expensive work of contemporary art ever auctioned.

June 2008: ArtPrice annual report announces that contemporary art sales generated EUR 980 million between june 2007 and june 2008, up 50% on the previous year for a volume of transactions roughly equivalent.

July 31, 2008: UK Nationwide announces the biggest fall in house prices (8.1%) since it started its survey in 1991

September 15, 2008: Wall-Street bank Lehman Borthers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The same day, Merrill Lynch agrees to be taken over by bank of America for $50 billion.

September 15, 2008: Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, Part I, Damien Hirst sales for £70,545,100 (including buyer’s premium).

September 16, 2008: The US Federal Reserve rescues insurance company AIG with a $85 billion package.

September 16, 2008: Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, part II, Damien Hirst sales for £40,919,700 (including buyer’s premium).

September 17, 2008: UK’s biggest mortgage lender HBOS is taken over by Lloyds TSB for £12 billion.

September 25, 2008: US mortgage lender Washington Mutual is closed down by the US regulators and sold to JP Morgan Chase.

October 17, 2008: Sotheby’s contemporary art sale in London struggled to find bidders and fetched £22 million with fees versus a lower estimate of £30.6 million.

October 18, 2008: Philips-de Pury auctions fetched only £5 million versus a lower estimate of £18.6 million; this includes Murakami’s sculpture “tongari-kun” failure to attract a single bid while expected to attract at least £3.5 million.

November 26, 2008: The European Commission release EUR200 billion in an attempt to save millions of European jobs.

December 1, 2008: The US recession is officially declared by the national Bureau of Economic Research

January 23, 2009: The UK officially entered a recession as fourth quarter 2008 GDP falls by 1.5% compared with previous three months.

February 11, 2009: Christies London sales 79% of a 29 lots offering in a 36 minutes auction representing £8.4 million with fees (88% below the £72.9 million achieved at the equivalent option the previous year).

More to follow…

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