Is the Art Market Bust Finally Over?


If the recent art market boom had a poster child, it may have been the British painter Lucian Freud. Before the boom ended suddenly in summer 2008, Freud's paintings (like The Sparrowhawk, pictured here at a 2008 Christie's auction in London) fetched sky-high prices, buoyed by an auction scene that seemed intent on adding zeroes to integers. It was stunning that any work by a living artist could fetch more than $30 million -- but then the bottom fell out, the exuberance ended, and the market reeled from a year and a half of anguish.