Trend Watch: Moon Phase Complications Rise Again

Recent history hasn’t been so kind to the lunar phase complication. Between the mid-nineties and the late naughties, watchmaking was rapt by a braggadocious bro culture that favored the rambunctious over the refined. Classical style and size were shelved for in-your-face outlandishness. Vivid colors and gargantuan cases dominated. The time for a patient, relatively static complication like a moon phase was passed. Its days in the sun seemed over. It seemed likely that this interesting mechanical exercise would exist as a throwback addition, more to recall the past than take us into the future.

Moon Phase

Image supplied, courtesy of De Bethune

And then everything changed. The financial uncertainty of the last decade brought watchmaking back into line. Gone were the days of customers throwing money at retailers in a deliberate effort to wear the most expensive thing; welcomed was the era of frugality, of quality, of value. Customers still want the very best, but they want it wrapped up in a more permanent package. They want heirlooms not bragging rights. And what does that mean for the aesthetics of watchmaking? A return to class…

The Outside Affects the In

Moon phase complications have been used on hypermodern watches, but in this writer’s opinion, it never looks quite right. Something about the richness of the colors often used in the decoration of a lunar disc (often blue and gold) makes this complication automatically ostentatious. It needs an elegant housing. Sure, it looks okay in an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak case (basically because that case could make any complication look good), but it looks at home in something more retro like a Patek Philippe 5396.

Moon Phase

Image supplied, courtesy of Andreas Strehler

So, this aesthetic reversion favoured the moon phase, but so have the advances in technology and the market climate that demands evermore unnecessary levels of accuracy to justify a purchase that would have seemed more throwaway ten or 20 years ago. Some watchmakers have taken this to heart, like Roger W. Smith of the United Kingdom, and produced top-of-the-range in-house calibres that push the boundaries of accuracy.

The standard moon phase disc would only feature 59 teeth, so the lunar disc would rotate once for every 29.5-day lunar cycle. The problem is that the lunar cycle isn’t exactly 29.5 days – in fraction terms it’s quite a bit more; so much more in fact, that a lunar disc with 59 teeth will actually need resetting by one day every two and half years or so.

That may not sound too bad, but from a timekeeping perspective it’s the same as your watch gaining one and a half minutes a day. That’s hardly the kind of chronometric accuracy most luxury watch buyers demand in 2017.

In the past the moon phase has been a curiosity, an aesthetic embellishment that enlivens a dial; now it is the plaything of geniuses, hell bent on bringing this complication into the 21st century, and ensuring, in some mind-boggling cases, that it will be able to run unadjusted for so long that the actual relationship of the moon and the Earth will have changed sufficiently as to make all modern day calculations moot.

In an era of caution, placing your money in one of these complicated watches designed for the long term, made in extremely limited series, and created by some of the most desirable and watertight companies in the world seems like a good investment that’s more likely to was than it is to wane.

 

About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

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Salon QP Exhibition 2017

Unbeknown to most, the abbreviation QP comes from Quantiéme Perpétuel, translated from French as ‘perpetual calendar’. The magazine is an extremely well-respected publication in the horological world, published quarterly covering watch design, history, collecting, auctions and more. With such a prestigious reputation, it seems only right that QP host a watch event fit for purpose.
Salon QP

Image Source: Author’s Own

Salon QP exhibition entered its ninth-year between the 2nd and 4th of November, returning to the Saatchi Gallery armed with some of the world’s finest and most desired timepieces on display. The exhibition had added ‘bonuses’ too, with featured fine art prints, a rare 1955 Porsche Pre A Speedster on display, and regular wine-tasting throughout the days.

Salon QP

1955 Porsche Pre A Speedster. Image Source: Author’s Own

As for the watches, they intricately combine mainstream with independent, prompting Salon QP to describe their featured collection as ‘unique watch brands from independent artisans to global mega-brands showcasing their most desired timepieces’.

The exhibition started with a swanky Thursday night black tie reception. Watch viewing and wine tasting exhibitions took place on the following two days. The event was highly interactive, with chances to meet and talk with the prestigious watchmakers such as A.Lange & Sohne and Abarth. Salon QP utilised every inch of the grand building, filling six different rooms with watchmakers presenting their most prized and unique timepieces.

Highlights

Salon QP

Astronomia Tourbillon. Image Source: Jacob & Co.

This was Friday’s headline exhibition that had patrons queuing out of the door to get a glimpse at some of the astrologically based watches. Salon QP tipped the exhibition as a ‘chance to delve into our desire to charter the heavens’. The display room was immersive, with a starry sky creating a cosmos feel, enhancing the viewing experience of an already stunningly intricate timepiece display.

Although the Van Cleef Midnight Planétarium was an impressive spectacle, the highlight had to be the highly coveted Jacob & Co Astronomia Tourbillon. The watch is simply breath-taking to behold up close, featuring 19K white gold and sapphire apertures on the sides, the watch was described by Jacob & Co as ‘a poetic visual rendering of the celestial world with every element in constant, visible motion’.

Salon QP

Blue Crafts Instillation. Image Source: Salon QP

This was no ordinary watch exhibition, as according to Salon QP, spectral coordinates of blue light can be found within the installation. This consequently allows the blue to be in transition, constantly revealing different blue sensations, with each person to enter the exhibition affecting the tone of the blue light. An interesting phenomenon to behold.

As for the blue dial watches themselves, they were everything you can expect from A. Lange & Sohne. Smart and stylish with the added effect of a rich blue that contrasted elegantly with the 18K white gold case; this was certainly a favourite amongst the watch enthusiasts in attendance.

Salon QP

Chopard Through the Years. Image Source: Author’s Own

An epic journey through sporting history, the exhibition featured a collection of luxury Chopard sports watches ranging from 1988 right through to 2017. From the Chopard co-president Karl-Friedich Scheufele participating in the world renowned classic rally to creating a Mille Miglia Collection this year featuring three new chronograph models; Chopard and Mille Miglia have a well-documented association that has been ever present as years have gone by.

The luxury watch brand dedicated their display of 29 years of elegance and technical accomplishments to Mille Migalle, a partnership that further emphasises the strong relationship formed between car racing and watches throughout history.

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Lessons on Authenticating Fine Art from the $100M Salvator Mundi Sale

Authenticating Fine Art - salvator mundi

Source: Newsweek

The artist Jonathan Yeo tweeted recently that the rediscovered Leonardo da Vinci painting ‘Salvator Mundi’ or the saviour of the world, which is being offered for sale by Christie’s on November the 15th, with an estimate of $100 Million was a bargain! And there is a solid argument that it is. There are only around 20 paintings that are definitively by Leonardo and this is the only one that is available for purchase at any price. The others are all in museums and cannot be sold. By investigating the history of this piece and similar fine artworks from this period, the importance of authenticating fine art becomes clear.

Authenticating Fine Art - Vermeer

Source: Essential Vermeer

In 2004, a painting by Johannes Vermeer titled ‘a young woman seated at the virginals’ (a sort of piano) sold at Sotheby’s London for a record £16.2 million including fees (around $30 million at the time). The work, which had been regarded as a fake for many years, had been initially offered with a cautious estimate of £3 million. Even up until the gavel went down, many questioned its attribution, as the work was deemed too poor to be by Vermeer.

Sotheby’s promoted the work, with a 22-page catalogue, which included contributions from art historians, costume historians, conservators and scientific analysts. They all sought to reinforce the conclusion reached by a panel of Dutch museum experts that the work was by Vermeer. In the art world, authenticating fine art is decided by a committee of experts who have the right to validate works by a certain artist. If this committee do not authenticate a work, as far as the art market is concerned, it is not authentic.

With the ever-increasing prices paid by collectors for authentic works by Contemporary, Modern and Old Masters, buyers want to be sure their work is correct and will pay significantly less for unauthenticated works, if they are willing to purchase them at all. There are many paintings that are most likely correct, but that cannot be sold as such as their chain of provenance is incomplete, or there is something about the composition or style of the work the specialists do not like. And hence have not been authenticated.

There have also been instances where committees authenticating fine art have been accused of deliberately and systematically refusing to authenticate works to limit the supply of works to the market and thus drive up the value of their holdings. It is these factors, that make the authenticity of both the Vermeer and the da Vinci so important. As, with this solid attribution, these works represent a once in a generation opportunity to buy works by these titans of art history.

The last Vermeer that one could buy before ‘a young woman seated at the virginals, was 49 years ago, and the last work offered at auction 81 years ago. The only other one technically in private hands belongs to the Queen of England: and, short of a revolution that will never be sold!

Authenticating Fine Art - Rembrandt

Source: Rijksmuseum

A drawing by da Vinci sold in 2001 for the staggering sum of £8,143,750. This was one of the finest da VincI drawings still in private hands: Though crucially not the ONLY one in private hands. A more accurate barometer of the current prices paid for work by the finest Old Master painters is the pair of portraits by Rembrandt van Rijn of Marten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit, executed a year after their wedding in 1634, which were purchased by the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre in collaboration for a staggering €160 million (around $182 million).

The fact that this price could only be achieved by 2 international instructions and indeed nations joining forces, illustrates how expensive Old Masters works can be. As a pair of works of exceptional quality, they were unique, but not the only opportunity to buy a Rembrandt at the time. Also, the fact that the works were offered for private sale, rather than being put on an auction block is also key: as offering works privately allows the buyers a longer period to raise funds prior to the sale. These deals can be worked out over a period of years, while the buyer of the da Vinci will have just over a month to get their funds together.

Authenticating Fine Art - Rubens

Source: BBC Arts

An example of an Old Master painting, which has been sold at auction, of similar quality to the da Vinci and the Rembrandt is Rubens ‘massacre of the Innocents’ which sold in 2002 at Sotheby’s in London for £49.5 million including fees (around $76.7 million). This work, painted between 1609 and 1611, not only represents a large-scale work by the artist, but is a major masterpiece by Rubens. Rubens is not an artist whose work only comes up only once in a generation, but a work of this importance and scale, may never come up again.

Does the price of $76.7 million paid for the Rubens mean buyers are unwilling to bid a lot more for old master paintings and hence value Old Master paintings less highly than Modern and Contemporary Art? Buyers of Modern and Contemporary masterpieces often pay more than the $100 million Christie’s have put on the da Vinci. It is perhaps for this reason Christie’s have taken the odd step of offering the da Vinci their major Post War and Contemporary art sale. Seeking to promote the painting as a once in a lifetime event which transcends time and genres. High praise indeed, but if there is an artist who deserves such hype it is da Vinci. Whether or not this risky positioning of the painting will pay off, only time will tell. As with any auction if 2 or more bidders want a work badly enough and are prepared to keep bidding, then the sky is the limit.

 

About the Author

Huw is an experienced art storage and shipping professional with an art history background.

 

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What is the Investment Value of Jaeger LeCoultre Watches?

When you think of Jaeger-LeCoultre you probably think of slim, classically styled dress watches that harken the Art Deco era. The 1931 release of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso distinguished the brand as a marque of high society, having tailored their most beloved creation’s design around the rigors of a polo match. The Reverso is still popular, but this Richemont-owned brand has a lot more than just one model to offer. Making us wonder about the investment value of Jaeger LeCoultre watches.

Investment Value of Jaeger LeCoultre Watches

Image supplied, courtesy of Jaeger LeCoultre

Some of the most impressive watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre are super-complicated mechanisms, boasting functions such as perpetual calendars, extremely accurate moon-phase displays, and deadbeat seconds indicators that ‘tick’ instead of sweep you’d expect from a mechanical watch.

Mechanics In the Blood

None of this should come as a surprise when we delve into the brand’s history to discover that Jaeger-LeCoultre – or, more specifically, LeCoultre – has its roots in movement manufacture. This level of expertise is what underpins the brand’s reputation. Having supplied movements to Cartier in the early 20th century, the legend of the two names, Jaeger and LeCoultre, has grown and grown since they first appeared on a dial together in 1937.

Investment Value of Jaeger LeCoultre Watches


Image supplied, courtesy of Jaeger LeCoultre

So what effect has this storied history had on the investment value of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches? As mentioned, Jaeger-LeCoultre is a Richemont brand (one of the major conglomerate luxury groups that tend to define the global landscape of watchmaking as they navigate the consumer minefield like tectonic giants, ponderously warring for new ground).

Group brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier, Baume & Mercier, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Montblanc, Piaget, and Panerai (all Richemont), Omega, Longines, Rado, Breguet, and Blancpain (Swatch Group), and TAG Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith (LVMH) to name but a few (seriously), are in a pretty strong position when it comes to attracting the long term investor. Why? Because they can more confidently guarantee their future existence. It’s tough for many smaller brands – especially those reliant on group-owned manufacturing companies like Nivarox for supply – to say with absolute certainty that they will be around in thirty years time to service the investment piece they’re trying to sell you today.

Additionally, their long histories, excellent record keeping, and the retention of a cachet of highly trained artisans makes faithful refurbishment a bankable option therefore increasing the investment value of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches.

Investment Value of Jaeger LeCoultre Watches

Image supplied, courtesy of Jaeger LeCoultre

The truth is that most watches, regardless of brand, will depreciate in value over time as they age. As this report shows, the average depreciation is 41% for a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master, BUT, that performance places it third, behind only Patek Philippe and Rolex’s examples submitted to this test.

What we’re really asking here is that do some of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s pieces blow the record books to bits when they go under the hammer? The answer is unequivocally yes. The above report deliberately excludes ultra-iconic pieces, because it unfairly favours the brands that have ultra-iconic pieces. Fortunately for Jaeger-LeCoultre, they do.

As one of the most respected brands, with one of the most sought-after and enduring designs in the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the better places to put your money. Especially if you want to look good in the process…

 

About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

 

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5 Must See Contemporary Art Shows This Fall

With the fall art season officially in full swing, there are many exciting contemporary art shows currently on view. From the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Chelsea Gallery scene and various museums shows there is bound to be an exhibition up that will be sure to capture your imagination. These unique, hand-picked shows are some of the best art offerings occurring around NYC right now.

Contemporary art shows - bougeouise, spider. 1997. Steel, tapestry, wood, glass, fabric, rubber, silver, gold, and bone.

Louise Bourgeois, Spider. 1997. Collection The Easton Foundation. © 2017 The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY. Source: Museum of Modern Art

Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait at MoMA

Looking at over 300 works from the MoMA’s own archive Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait show explores another aspect of the creative process of the artist. Bourgeois left her immense imprint on the art world though the large-scale spider like sculptures she would come to be known for. Many of the prints and drawings were created in the last two decades of the artist’s life, as well as early on in her career.

While Bourgeois would come to be primarily known for her sculptural works and installations, print and book making would also play a role in the artist’s life. This show puts both elements of her creative practice into conversation in an exciting way. The exhibition also features an online catalog titled Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books that brings together 4,000 plus printed sheets of the artist’s work, making it accessible to the world. The show is on view until January 28, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art.

Contemporary art shows - kusama

Yayoi Kusama. Source: David Zwirner Gallery

Yayoi Kusama at David Zwirner Gallery

This month David Zwirner will present the work of celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.  It will consist of two concurrent exhibitions taking over three spaces across the city at the New York: Festival of Life at 525 and 533 West 19th Street in Chelsea and Infinity Nets on 34 East 69th Street on the Upper East Side. The shows will feature 66 paintings, an iconic polka dot environment, two Infinity Mirror rooms, and a new collection of paintings and sculptures.

Over the course of Kusama’s almost five decades long career, the artist has engaged in some of the most important movements within the art world from minimalism, pop, feminism, and beyond. Kusama who has come to be known for her complex and colorful installations and sculptures, which utilize fabric, mirrors and other materials has also become a fashion icon in her own right. It is the artist’s eclectic style, and unique artistic vision, that has left viewers intrigued for years. This exhibition will be on view until December 16.

Contemporary art shows - Hockney,Gregory Sleeping,1978 Pen and ink on paper

David Hockney, Gregory Sleeping, 1978. Source: Paul Kasmin Gallery

David Hockney: Works on Paper 1961-2009 at Paul Kasmin Gallery

British artist David Hockney will unveil his second solo exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery on November 9. The show considers the larger artistic trajectory of Hockney and includes drawings from early as 1961, when he was a student at the Royal College of Art. These early portraits take on a much different feel compared to later works that explore the landscape and nature of East Yorkshire, England.

This show will feature a range of Hockney’s works in various mediums from charcoal, ink, pencil, and later, even the use of the iPad. The pieces in this exhibition reflect the larger development of the artist’s practice overall and help to give a fuller impression of Hockney’s process. David Hockney: Works on Paper will also run alongside a retrospective of the artist that will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This show is on view until January 9, 2018 at Paul Kasmin Gallery.

Contemporary art shows - krasner, Seeded, 1960 Oil on canvas

Lee Krasner, Seeded, 1960. Source: Paul Kasmin Gallery

Lee Krasner: The Umber Paintings, 1959-1962 at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Feminist Abstract painter Lee Krasner’s seminal series, The Umber Paintings, will also be on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery until January 13. Done in collaboration with the Pollack-Krasner Foundation, this exhibition explores twenty-four paintings the artist produced between 1959-62. These works represent some of the most ambitious paintings to come out of the artist’s career, and were created shortly after the loss of her husband, Jackson Pollock and her mother.

Using large scale brush work, nuanced used of color, and fueled by several crushing personal losses, The Umber Paintings represent some of the most vital work Krasner would ever produce. Eight of the paintings on view in this exhibition are held in major institutional collections as well. It is Krasner’s gestural use of color combined with the physicality of her work and the larger history surrounding the artist, that makes this one of the must see shows of the season.

Contemporary art shows - wagner, Metropolis, 2017 Ink and oil on canvas

Virginia Wagner, Metropolis, 2017. Source: Kate Oh Gallery

Virginia Wagner Metropolis at Kate Oh Gallery

Rounding out the contemporary art shows, painter Virginia Wagner debuted her solo exhibition at the Kate Oh Gallery last week. The show titled Metropolis explores 1920’s German film in an almost post-apocalyptic world. Wagner’s lush canvases pit dire, utilitarian structures against desolate industrial backdrops. The imagery is powerful and draws on Wagner’s background in literature.

Working with a variety of mediums including ink and house paint, Wagner works the canvases until they achieve an almost photorealistic finish. Her brush work and unique imagery makes it one of the stand out shows to see this season. It will be on view until December 9.

These contemporary art shows offer some of the most interesting things to see during some of the soon-to-be coldest months of the year. With many of the art happenings occurring around the city, be sure to become a part of the conversation by seeing these exhibitions.

 

About the Author

Anni Irish has been a contributing writer to several online publications including Boston based publication, The Dig, New York Arts Magazine, and ArteFuse among others. She holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College, and an MA in Performance Studies from New York University.

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2017 TEFAF New York Fall Recap

The Park Avenue Armory came alive once again for TEFAF New York Fall. This marks the second year that the space was been taken over for the momentous occasion. The fair officially opened to the public on Saturday October 28, following a packed preview the day before, giving NYC art goers a taste of the international art fair season before it being officially in full swing. The fair ended on November 1, 2017.

The 2017 TEFAF New York Fall fair included several notable celebrity sightings– American comedian and actress Whoopi Goldberg, TV personality, writer and business woman Martha Stewart who has been making the rounds at NYC art fairs this year, as well as reporter Anderson Cooper and his partner Benjamin Maisani. The US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, was also in attendance. Having famous people such these only adds to the cache of this evolving fair and are helping to put it on the map for future versions as well.

2017 TEFAF New York - Mullany

Tapestry depicting the Ball Game from the story of Gombaut and Macée. Source: TEFAF

Sales for the fair were strong within the first few days. On the Friday before TEFAF New York opened to the public, several important items sold including: A tapestry depicting the Ball Game from the story of Gombaut and Macée, sold by Mullany, the painting Vanitas by Spanish artist Andrés de Leito, George Minne’s Head of a Man, sold by Agnews among others.

2017 TEFAF New York - Agnews

George Minne, Head of a Man (circa 1910-13). Source: TEFAF

The scope of items for sale included an impressive collection of museum quality items ranging from antiquities to items from the 1920s. The expansive periods from which various artifacts were on display, were only surpassed by the sheer volume of art there was to see. Items included: paintings, textiles, sculptures, jewelry, furniture, decorative arts and much more. Borro’s Vice President of Valuations, Mark Bench, was a member of the TEFAF Vetting Committee and first-time attendee of the fall fair. He noted, “For me it had a wow factor with some exceptional pieces right across the fine and decorative arts canons.”

The 2017 TEFAF New York fair also helped to bridge the gap between contemporary and historic works of art through the curated show of never-before-seen large scale photographs by the artist Vera Lutter. The exhibition titled Painting on Paper: Vera Lutter’s Old Master Photographs, was on loan from the LA County Museum of Modern Art.

This art fair was not for the faint of heart and truly had something for everyone to see. Of the over 90 exhibitors on view there were many beautiful works of art to see. Here are some of the highlights:

MacConnal-Mason Gallery

The London based gallery specializes in in British and European paintings and sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries. This family owned gallery has come to be known within the art world over the last 150 years. In this time, they have become a force to be reckoned with. Some of the works at their booth included Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henry Moret and John Atkinson Grimshaw.

2017 TEFAF New York - Thomas Salis

Alfred Sisley. Les Chasseurs (Lisière De La Forêt De Marly En Automne) 1873 Source: TEFAF

Thomas Salis

Also dealing in European paintings and sculptures from Europe of the 19th-20th centuries, Thomas Sails has become a well-known art specialist over the last thirty years. Salis also has a special focus on French Impressionists, Fauvists and German Expressionists. Highlights included Otto Dix’s Junge Familie, Pierre Bonnard’s Le Petit Deieuner and Camille Pissarro’s Le Havre, la jetee, apres-midi, temps gris lumineux, mer haute.

2017 TEFAF New York - Gunther

Book of Hours for King Louis XII,” Jean Pichore Workshop (circa 1500-1515)

Dr. Jorn Gunther Rare Books AG

Dr. Jorn Gunther is an antique dealer who specializes in medieval manuscripts, miniatures, and printed books. Their beautiful printed books and manuscripts added a unique flair to the fair.

2017 TEFAF New York - Aardewerk

René Lalique Gold, enamel and pearls Height of pendant (1901)

  1. Aardewerk

When it comes to antique silver and jewelry, A. Aardwerk is known the world over for specializing in antique Dutch silver from the 16th century on. The family owned business boasts four generations of antique experts. They have also been exhibiting at TEFAF since 1995. They had a stunning selection of rare silver and antique jewels.

2017 TEFAF New York - Maria Kiang

Tang Dynasty. An Elephant Candelabrum

Maria Kiang Chinese Art

Maria Kiang established her gallery in 2006. In the last 11 years, she has become known as one of the leading experts in Chinese art particularly in Scholar’s Objects, Buddhist art and Song ceramics.

2017 TEFAF New York - Ronald Phillips

Almost certainly John Belicher, A George I Green Japanned Bureau Cabinet (circa 1715). Source: TEFAF

Ronald Phillips

This British furniture dealer has something to offer everyone. They offer a range of gold-trimmed furniture as well as many other unique items. They also have established themselves as one of the leading English antique dealers in the world.

 

About the Author

Anni Irish has been a contributing writer to several online publications including Boston based publication, The Dig, New York Arts Magazine, and ArteFuse among others. She holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College, and an MA in Performance Studies from New York University.

 

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5 Reasons Why Investing in Fine Art is for the Long Term

Investing in fine art - soutine

Chaim Soutine, Portrait of Madeleine Castaing (1929). Source: The Met

The idea of art as an investment rather than just a collection is nothing new. According to the Deloitte Art & Finance Report, over three quarters of collectors now purchase works with their investment potential in mind. However, for every article saying art is the next great investment, there is another predicating a fine art market crash similar to the 80 to 90 per cent drops seen in Japan in 1990’s. But the art market is more than just a bubble and below are five reasons why investing in fine art is a good long-term decision.

  1. The fine art market has grown 113% in 10 years

One of the reasons art and other luxury assets have caught the eye of investors is their exceptional growth over the last ten years. The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) tracks the performance of a range of assets including fine art, classic cars, and fine wine. It has shown all three asset classes outperforming shares in the last 10 years and recovering from shocks like the 2008 financial crisis much faster. Works by blue chip artists like Gaugin, Van Gogh, and Warhol whose works are both desirable and limited in supply perform especially well.

  1. Over the long term, the fine art market is cyclical like any other

The constant debate between fine art bulls and bears often mirrors that of stock market pundits. As mentioned above, the art market has seen contractions and not all genres or style perform as well as others. The Old Master market for instance, has seen large losses in some years, but as the Borro Blog has previously discussed, this doesn’t prevent certain Old Master paintings from generating huge returns. This risk/reward trade-off allows potential investors to tailor their purchases to suit their needs. If you are looking for large returns quickly, speculating on emerging Contemporary artists might be your best bet. If, on the other hand, you are aiming for steady growth, then a piece Impressionism might be more suitable.

Investing in fine art - cezanne

Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses (1890) Source: The Met

  1. Investing in fine art can also be investing in artists and art itself

Not all art needs to be bought at auction. Unknown and very early emerging artists are naturally a vital part of the art world and can often only be bought from galleries. Purchasing works by new artists, while a risky financial investment, encourages artists to innovate and find new modes of expression. It can also help support emerging gallerists who are struggling with the increasing costs of art fairs, or, you can look for alternative platforms for reaching new artists. Online fine art buying is taking off slowly, and is being touted by some as the next big step for the fine art market. If however, your preference is for blue chip pieces, they can be loaned to museums allowing everyone to appreciate your collection.

  1. Collecting fine art opens doors

Another potential upside of investing in fine art is its social value. According to Deloitte’s report, 61% of art collectors cited the social aspects of art buying as ‘a key motivation’ for purchasing. These perks include invitations to special events like MoMA’s annual party in New York, exclusive previews from major auction houses, and special events after fairs like Art Basel. If you have donated or lent art to a museum you may be invited to join its board, a very prestigious position.

  1. You own something you love for life

One of the most common pieces of advice new collectors receive is ‘make sure you are buying things you like.’ Even if you haven’t bought a piece by the next Basquiat, you can still appreciate your purchase – which is more than can be said for owning an Enron share certificate! Additionally, just because a piece of art doesn’t appreciate in value immediately doesn’t mean it will never happen. Artists including El Greco, Toulouse-Lautrec, and of course Van Gogh weren’t appreciated until after their deaths!

 

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