The ebb and flow of the market in the works of Louis Icart

Louis Icart Two Beauties

Louis Icart Two Beauties

I’ve been dealing in the etchings and paintings of Louis Icart since the 1970s, when his works were rediscovered by the buying public. At the time, Phillips Auctioneers occupied the Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Ave. and 72nd St., in New York City. They were clever to put together several auctions exclusively with his works. Back then, auctions were mostly attended in person, so the auction house was filled to capacity with an overflow crowd. It was very exciting to attend an auction when interest was so high. The auction went fabulously well, with almost everything selling at record or near record prices. And so started the first wave of interest in Icart.

The public lost interest in Icart in the early ’80s, so prices dropped significantly. Then an exhibition of Icart etchings and paintings was assembled and exhibited in Japan. This started the next wave of activity, but this time, the action reached a fever pitch. World business was good and the Japanese, in particular, were experiencing a monster real estate boom They borrowed against the value of their holdings and went on a worldwide buying spree of unprecedented proportion. French items were high on their lists and that included Icart. Japanese buying was so frenetic that prices went through the roof. The base price for an Icart etching was $4,000, with some oil paintings reaching $250,000 at auction. His best etchings, such as Two Beauties, were selling for $55,000. These were the prices paid in US dollars. By the time the merchandise was brought back to Japan, the prices were doubled and tripled.

Unfortunately, the recession of the early ’90s popped the bubble and prices dropped dramatically, most to less than 50% of their peak prices.  After a low in the early ’90s, prices recovered slowly, but never back to their glory days.

And now to today.  The current recession is having an adverse effect, as would be expected.  Prices have dropped significantly, so some Icart etchings are available for under $1,000.  The best ones are still more valuable, but the whole market has turned down.  See an opportunity here?  If you’re a collector, a decorator, or an investor (and I don’t recommend investing), this is the BEST time, not the worst, to be looking again with fresh eyes at his works.  Prices will not stay this low for long.  It’s no different than the real estate market.  This is a great time to buy.

2 thoughts on “The ebb and flow of the market in the works of Louis Icart

  1. Hi there Phil, What do you have currently available as far as Icart?

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