The emerging-art market is dead

Time to buy if you dare! In case you’ve missed it, the art market is on shaky ground. But when it comes to the market for emerging art, the bubble has already popped.

Investors are taking pennies on the dollar in some cases for art by young artists.

Art dealer and collector Niels Kantor paid $100,000 two years ago for an abstract by Hugh Scott-Douglas. Today, he is returning the 28-year-old artist’s work to the market for just $20,000, according to Bloomberg.

“I’d rather take a loss,” Kantor, who is offering the Scott-Douglas work at the Phillips auction in New York today, told Bloomberg. “I feel like it can go to zero. It’s like a stock that crashed.”

Auction sale prices began to drop late last year, and ever since then it has been a race to the bottom.

“When those speculators realize that there is no end user at a higher price, then they scramble to sell the work before they lose everything,” Todd Levin, director of Levin Art Group, who advises collectors, told Bloomberg. “The demand is driven by greed, the selloff by fear. It’s Economics 101.”

Still it is not all bad news. The gallery market is far more stable and work by emerging artists is still being brought to market.

“No one is folding tent because auction prices have declined,” Casey Kaplan, a gallery owner, told Bloomberg. [Bloomberg]