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Art at a bargain

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  • | 4:00 a.m. May 27, 2009
  • Arts + Culture
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Yes, even fine-art prices have been slashed in this economy.

Sarasota’s independent art retailers are hoping lower prices will appeal to cash-strapped patrons who still want one-of-a-kind pieces without compromising their wallets or tastes.

In light of declining art sales, Allyn Gallup, of Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, has rolled out an affordable summer art showcase, featuring works by local artists Jean Blackburn, George Pappas and Joyce Ely-Walker.

More than 50 pieces in the showcase have been priced at $1,500 or less.

“I would be less than truthful if I didn’t say art galleries weren’t hurting,” Gallup says. “Like any other business that requires discretionary income, we’re affected by the economy. The idea behind this show is to encourage people to acquire art even if they’re only able to spend $1,000.”

Although many of Gallup’s clients’ incomes have been unaffected by the recession, the country’s current penny-pinching consciousness has impacted even the wealthiest art patrons in town.

“We see this happen across many high-end markets,” Gallup says. “People are under pressure and so it spreads.”

Lido Key artist Florence Putterman agrees. Putterman, whose work is included in this summer’s affordable art show, says thriftiness among Sarasota professionals is beginning to correct the art industry’s once-extraordinary prices.

Putterman draws an obvious correlation between the escalating cost of fine art and Florida’s real-estate boom in the early 2000s.

“The price of art just mushroomed,” Putterman says. “Department stores were charging interior designers outrageous prices for work. Things just got out of hand, and I think what we’re seeing now is a correction.
Maybe a little bit of an overcorrection, but things will settle down eventually.”


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