Friday, October 5, 2012

A precious backgrounder to informed art investing

A comprehensive resource on the various economic aspects of visual arts’ ownership, ‘Fine Art and High Finance’ looks to guide to the world of investing and also act as an able reference on specific areas of the art industry.

Spelling out the thought behind this carefully compiled research volume (Publisher: Bloomberg Press; Price: $39.95; Pages: 336), an introductory note mentions: “Art and finance coalesce in the elite world of fine art collecting and investing. Investors and collectors can’t protect and profit from their collections successfully without grappling with a range of complex issues like risk, insurance, restoration, and conservation. They require an intimate knowledge not only of art but also of finance.

The art market is tough to quantify, and so also its size, as pointed out by several contributors. Moreover, how does one assess a painting’s price when four portraits of Dora Maar by Picasso, all of comparable size and from the 1940s, can fetch prices between $4.5m- $85m within a span of three years? Many attempts have been made to formulate indices for art, but hardly any has been fully successful or competent. One of the known experts on the subject, Dr Roman Kräussl, has said: “All the art market price indices suffer bias owing to inherent problems that are there in the available data.”

In this context, the scholars contributing to the book have put together vital information on topics like art as loan collateral, investing in art funds, and the black-market art business. The writers collectively explain the various challenging financial matters invariably faced by art investors. Among the commentators from art, financial and legal industry backgrounds, who simplify the subject matter in a reader-friendly manner are Elizabeth Von Habsburg and Rachel Goodman, Gurr Johns Rena Neville, Sotheby's New York Ralph Lerner and Pierre Valentin, Withers Suzanne Gyorgy, Withers Barbara A. Ramsay and John K. Jacobs, Artex, among others.

Just to sum it up, the decision to put your money in art can pose tricky riddles. ‘Fine Art and High Finance’ edited by Clare McAndrew offers a wealth of precious background information to make a more informed decision.

No comments:

Post a Comment