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Why it's important: Companies want tasteful art to cover their walls and adorn their lobbies, but some corporate buyers have been putting off purchases.
Outlook: Large corporate clients have gradually cut back art purchases over the past 12 or 18 months, says Michael Ingbar, owner of MFI Art Co. in New York, which focuses on midpriced art purchases for companies. "If they're laying off people, they're not going to buy art," Ingbar says. "Some of our biggest clients that used to buy a lot of artwork from us are not doing anything for more than a year." Still, he says, someone is always making money even in a downturn, and he says 2008 has been the best year since he started the company 31 years ago.