The art market not only seems to have found its former self but may be in for a total makeover.

Last Wednesday night, Sotheby’s fetched approximately $190 million for 50 pictures. More about the Sotheby’s auction can be found here:

www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/arts/14iht-melik14.html

The previous night Christie’s sold a Jasper John’s “Flag” for $28.6 million which was in the ballpark for the highest amount ever paid for a work by a living artist (a record held by the sale of Lucian Freud’s “Benefit Supervisor” two years ago for $33.6 million).

More about the Christie’s auction can be found here:

www.nytimes.com/2010/05/12/arts/design/12auction.html

As Judd Tully states in the recent issue of Art and Auction (and the issue was published before the aforementioned auctions), this “appears to be one of the fastest recoveries in art market history.”

But since markets generally rise over time, the question may be where does the auction market go from here.  No one can say with certainty.

Although it appeared last year that the market reflected deep and uncertain economic gloom it is too early to sat that the market reflects a return to optimism particularly while many economists rightfully continue to be pessimistic about the so-called recovery. See this article for information about recent leading economic indicators:

www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/daily-brief/2010/05/20/economic-recovery-may-be-losing-steam-as-leading-indicators-point-lower

Although the market appears to rise and fall with the overall economy, the fact remains that art, like real estate, can fluctuate in value but can be a solid long-term investment particularly for blue-chip pieces.  This is good news for those in the art finance industry and for those fortunate enough to compete for artworks at auction.