Written by Steve Dow and published in The Age, 17 December 2013
“Art sales at auction in Australia defied dire predictions this year, despite small-time investors backing away from buying low and middle-priced art for their own superannuation funds.
Total art sales at auction will reach $104 million this year, up from $95 million in 2012, according to the Australian Art Sales Digest – but the 62 per cent clearance rate is down on 66 per cent last year.
Art valuer David Hulme of Banziger Hulme said the 2011 tightening of self-managed superannuation fund regulations, requiring investment art to be stored rather than displayed, discouraged art investments priced in the low thousands or tens of thousands.
Brett Whiteley’s My Armchair was sold for $3.92 million.
Wealthy investors, who are more likely to store multiple artworks anyway, were still buying high-end art priced in the hundreds of thousands and millions
The art auction sales for 2013 were “reasonably positive”, said Hulme, but the result is well down on the $175 million in art auction sales in Australia in 2007, a flow-on from a buoyant property market making people “feel wealthy”. ….”