Election Season? Buy Some Art!

A woman sells photographs in a gallery.

Image: Shutterstock

Now is the time of times to buy art, alleges the New York Post. Over the past decade, art prices have fallen specifically in election years since 1998, meaning that those dreadful political seasons are the best time to get you a new painting. Art prices have fallen during the past three election years, while prices have risen in non-election years.

Experts believe that election periods generate apprehension about rising tax rates and declining economic conditions, so art buyers are a bit more conservative in their purchases. These carefully indexed numbers focus on the art market between April 1 to the end of the year, when campaign season really gets going. The most extreme case of falling art prices happened in 2008, after President Obama’s first election, when art prices fell by 21 percent in 9 months.

In 2000, after George W. Bush’s victory over Al Gore, art prices dropped 3.3 percent. In 2012, when Obama won his second term, prices dipped 3.3 percent.

This year’s election—to use the word loosely—is shaping up to be very similar, especially in light of a falling global economy and hedge funds that aren’t doing so hot.

“The election this year has been like none other,” acknowledges Nick Korniloff, founder of Art Miami, Art New York, and Art Southampton. “Just holding the line in this environment should be considered a positive.” As evidence of this year’s trend, a Sotheby’s auction won only $144.5 million in sales of modern and Impressionist art. They had anticipated a minimum presale target of $164.8 million.

It isn’t just art markets that fall during election years, either—it’s most markets. So far this year, the S&P 500 is down 5.1 percent. CNBC believes consumers uncomfortable with changing markets and an uncertain future for the country. “People don’t like the upheaval and uncertainty of an open-ended race,” said Jeff Hirsch, editor of The Stock Trader’s Almanac. Hirsch also believes that markets fall more in a president’s second term because those presidents are less predictable.

“I expect the [anxiety in the markets] will continue through the first three quarters of this year and finally subside in the fourth,” Korniloff said. “People will have adjusted to whoever is elected president by then.”


About Alex Holt

I am a local artist from Brooklyn, NY. I love art, design, books, photography, gardening and blogging.
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