bad-debt art Art being sold or donated, because the owner is deeply in debt. When a piece of art attains this status, its market value tends to be much lower than it would normally be. It can also refer to repossessions of art from a bankrupt company or someone’s defaulting private estate. In recent times there have been various minor art bubbles in various locations in the art world. In the late eighties Japan was hit by one, and many pieces of their much beloved French Impressionist work was being resold in a wave the media then termed bad debt art sales.