2 January 2005

Art Market Notebook: Summer 2005

Chalk up another astounding performance for the Australian art market in 2004, begging the question, just how long can these good times roll?

The most transparent barometer of artworld economic activity remains the auction scene and 2004 continued the stellar growth that has marked the longest upward trend in the domestic market's history. In terms of total sales at auction, the market has been growing at around 10 per cent per annum, according to records kept by the Australian Art Sales Digest. At the time of writing, 2004 was on target to break the magic $100 million barrier in total sales at auction, meaning the secondary market has increased in volume five-fold since 1993 when turnover was just $19.4 million.

Where’s the money coming from? 

Deal Me In: Shaun Dennison

Christie’s entered the burgeoning fray of the indigenous art market in October with a 168-lot auction in Sydney. The man plotting the strategy for the venerable French firm is tyro auction specialist, Shaun Dennison. Melbourne-based Dennison, a management consultant by trade and an art collector by passion, has only been collecting himself since 1996 – the year Emily Kame Kngwarreye died. Christie’s new Modern Aboriginal art specialist, spoke to Michael Hutak at the Paris preview of the sale in September, then by email after the sale in October.

Michael Hutak: Can you remember the first artwork you bought?