Power Lunch

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Power Lunch

Art bubble brewing?

Orazio Gentileschi “Danaë,” Oil on canvas, 1621. Estimate: $25-$35 million
Source: Sotheby's

The global art market is about to burst, experts say.

After closely studying over a million auction records from the past four decades, researchers at the University of Luxembourg suggest the global art market is about to burst.

The authors of the Luxembourg report conclude that conditions are ripe for a "severe correction," particularly in the post-war and contemporary, American, and Old Masters categories.

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The study, released earlier this month, indicates the bubble is in the "mania phase" of its formation, which started in late 2011.

A similar warning was raised last February from renowned "Dr. Doom" economist, Nouriel Roubini.

In a sent to his clients last Febriary, Roubini also warned the $70 billion art world was "ripe for overheating."

"There is a lack of a fundamental pricing model for art. "This lack of a fundamental pricing model means that art is subject to fads, fashions, manias—and potentially bubbles. (Markets sometimes run into major challenges even when assets have fundamental pricing models—let alone without them."

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Doom and gloom predictions aside, recent sales, including Christie's auction of Pablo Picasso's 1955 painting Les Femmes d'Alger for a record $179.4m, seem to indicate a rather robust art market still at play.

In 2015, global art sales hit a record led by collectors in the U.S., Europe.

Christie's and Sotheby's sold a collective $3.7 billion last year, with postwar and contemporary art comprising nearly 50 percent of all sales by value.