Richard Rush, author of Art As an Investment, relates a recent buying trip to Europe, during which he visited 700 galleries and 66 museums, ultimately purchasing 35 paintings. He discusses the geography of the international post-World War II art market, focused primarily in continental Europe. Rush describes the market’s price-setting mechanisms and its uniformity across market centers, and the establishment of arbitrage regardless of geography. He also discusses “movements” within the “booming” art market, wherein prices escalate rapidly for artists of a similar “school” or geographic orientation.
Rush presents a number of visual aids and charts featuring auction prices as recent as the preceding week. In one, analyzing auction prices from 1925-1960, Rush notes a generally positive correlation between the stock market and the art market, but emphasizes that in recent years, the art market has outpaced the stock market in growth. He also organizes artists and schools into tiers based on purchasing power, and notes increases and decreases along these lines. Rush makes repeated reference to his book on the subject, Art As An Investment (Prentice Hall, 1961).
During the question and answer period, Rush emphasizes that his findings and calculations presented are only applicable to painting specifically (and oil paintings in particular) and exclude sculpture, graphic design, and other mediums. He also omits smaller paintings, watercolors, and gouaches from his calculations as well.