Given current global economic weakness and turbulence seen in financial markets in recent periods, "Some of the big owners of art are not confident enough to put their major works on the block," says Philip Hoffman, Founder and Chief Executive of The Fine Art Group, an art advisory and investment house.
According to Hoffman, the market would benefit from an unfortunate event such a death, divorce or bankruptcy that would bring a forced sale. And it seems an impending tragedy for some could bring some relief to art intermediaries, with Hoffman hinting, "November could be an interesting turning point where some interesting estates are going to come on the block."
Hoffman, a long-term industry veteran and former Deputy CEO of Christie's Europe, claims buyers are raring to go as soon as attractive assets land on the auctioneers' blocks: "There is a huge amount of cash sitting in deposit accounts and there is a lot of interest in finding the right work of art."
Fresh from a trip to China, Hoffman emphasised the buoyant interest from Chinese investors in the Western art market. The company has recently moved into a new line of business to satisfy a niche demand. According to Hoffman, Chinese investors want credit to be arranged and to borrow money against art.
"Leverage into the art market will bring a whole new game into the art market and I think we'll see a big growth over the next five years."