Tuesday March 22nd 2016

“A boom in indigenous art is under way in the US, where a swath of themed contemporary shows, solo expos and retrospectives are wowing critics, attracting collectors and media buzz, and inspiring awe among the art-loving public around the country.”
– The Australian, 19 March 2016

Collectors, investors and interested followers of Piermarq will not be surprised to read the above quote. It certainly comes as no surprise to us. We have been predicting this trend for the last 3 years, yet in a commercial sense is still in its early stages.

The Australian reports that multiple exhibitions dedicated to indigenous Australian artists have been, are currently under way, or are planned in museums, private galleries and art fairs. This includes more than a dozen cities in the US.

Art critics in the US have called a 2015 exhibition of Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri’s in New York a ‘tipping point’ for interest in Aboriginal art.

This interest was immediately evident when Piermarq exhibited the largest body of Aboriginal art from the Western Desert at an international art fair – Art Palm Beach International 2016, in Florida. Collectors were immediately impressed with the quality of the paintings presented. Many commented that they had seen Aboriginal art exhibited before, but never of such consistently high standard. The weaker Australian dollar, too, was a factor.

What really opened our eyes was the scale of both the art market in the US, and the wealth. If a trend catches on, just sit back and watch prices explode.

However, we should not expect a boom in all Aboriginal art, such as the market witnessed pre-2008. Collectors in the US are discerning with a much more developed understanding of art and the art market than the broader Australian audience. The focus will be on quality; only the best examples will perform in the market.

Sebastian Smee, art critic at The Boston Globe, comments,

“The whole problem with the Aboriginal art phenomenon – and with people’s dismay over the fact that it hasn’t seemed to catch on overseas, except intermittently and in small ways – is that most of it looks very poor. There’s no getting around that. You can’t make people more than glancingly interested in work they don’t love the look of.”

We agree. The materials used, the preparation of the canvas and the conditions in which an artist paints all contribute to the finished quality of the work. Quality is what interests these collectors.

Works by ‘First Contact’ artists, those who were raised in an orthodox way of life in the desert, are becoming rarer. These will become even more highly sought-after if indeed this ‘tipping point’ becomes a serious ‘trend’. Our view is that it will.

Click here to read the article in The Australian Newspaper.

Contact Piermarq to start the conversation about Aboriginal art: [email protected] / 02 9660 7799.

Piermarq Art
Piermarq Director Justin Callanan in front of 'Ngayuku Ngura - Anumarapiti' by Tommy Watson at Art Palm Beach International 2016, Florida USA
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