Days of wine and roses...

Submitted by Jeeraik009 on Sun, 04/18/2010 - 20:42

The Edna Manley Foundation's valient attempt to raise funds for Haiti by hosting an auction is instructive. The dismal sums raised teach us that despite best efforts the economic recession is taking its toll on the Jamaican art market. The catalogue listed 113 works by some 70 artists ranging from Jamaica's early pioneer painters such as John Dunkley, Carl Abrahams and Edna Manley to contemporary talent such as Marissa Holland and Michael Chambers. There was also a handful of Haitian works including one by the important artist Jeane Claude Severe. As usual, the National Gallery staff rallied to present works in a highly professional manner, displaying them ahead of time, and auctioneer William Tavares Finson handled the bidding. But even as the first round of paintings were passed up at relatively low reserve prices it was clear that Jamaican collectors have slowed their pace of buying as they fight to cope with the economic downturn. Almost half the works were withdrawn because they failed to raise enough interest to meet reserve prices, and those that did sell barely made their estimated values. The thrilling competitive bidding of past years never materialized suggesting that the days of big spending and bullish collection building are over.