But those pieces represent a tiny slice at the top of the art market. When you look at values in the broader art market, the picture becomes a little less flattering. (See this piece by James Stewart in The New York Times for the best analysis.)
According to a new report from Knight Frank and WealthInsight, fine art was the worst performing collectible last year, with prices down 3 percent. The performance is based on an index from Art Market Research, which includes old masters, European 19th century, impressionists, modern and contemporary.
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The report said the overall art market is still down from its 2011 peak. Granted, over a 10-year period, art is still a good investment, according to the report, with a return of 193 percent.