Financial Crisis Slows Sales in Chelsea

Financial Crisis Slows Sales in Chelsea
Sales have slowed in Chelsea as collectors face the effects of the financial crisis, Bloomberg reports. On the whole, dealers claim that it's too early to say "where the art bubble has burst" but report more sluggish sales and increasingly cautious buyers.

"The response has been slow," said Natalia Sacasa, senior director at Luhring Augustine Gallery, in reference to a show of large-scale color prints by artist Joel Sternfeld. Although six out of 13 works have sold, "There isn't the frenzy we all have become accustomed to," she said.

Other dealers echo Sacasa's comments. Lisa Spellman, owner of 303 Gallery, remarked on the absence of Wall Street and real-estate clients but said collectors outside of New York are still active. "Pricing is almost a science right now," said Spellman. "It has to feel right to them at the first instance. If it sounds too high, they'll just pass."

More buyers have also been asking to pay for art in 90 days as opposed to the standard 30.

Dealer Andrea Rosen reported some sales but noted that collectors seem to be more discerning. "People are buying not with their ears but with their eyes," she said.

On the other hand, dealer John Connelly reported selling out a show of small oil-on-aluminumpaintings by Jeronimo Elespe. The works were priced between $2,500 and $3,500,