Turning investment into an artform

(cover picture : Davide Benati – Burma / 2016, watercolour on paper mounted on canvas, 95 x 120 cm)

 

Véronique de Lavenne, international art advisor in modern and contemporary art, created the company Moving Art, after more than 20 years of professional experience in the art world, as a gallery owner and curator. Moving Art accompanies individuals, business owners and interior designers in their purchases of works of art, guaranteeing quality works. Moving Art drives research, study, analysis and estimation of the work they wish to acquire or sell, supported by other experts of the art scene and the art market (galleries, art historians, art critics, curators, auctioneers). Moving Art organizes exhibitions, visits to museums, galleries and artist studios.

From 2012 to 2015, Véronique de Lavenne directed the Marlborough Gallery in Monaco, where she presented and sold, among others, works by Getulio Alviani, Roberto Barni, Ben, Davide Benati, Fernando Botero, Mike Bouchet, Louise Bourgeois, Grisha Bruskin, Louis Cane, Dale Chihuly, Chu Teh Chun, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Richard Estes, Juan Genoves, Ahmet Gunestekin, Carmen Herrera, Ellsworth Kelly, Titouan Lamazou, Julio Larraz, Julio Le Parc, Benoit Lemercier, Paul McCarthy, François Morellet, Tom Otterness, Ania Pabis, César Paternosto, Beverly Pepper, Pablo Picasso, David Rodriguez Caballero, Nicolas Schöffer, Hedva Ser, Sacha Sosno, Jesus-Rafael Soto, Luis Tomasello, Manolo Valdés, Jacques Villeglé…

For the first issue of this year 2017, Force One Magazine asked her to explain why and how invest in art.

EVOLUTION OF THE ART MARKET

In less than thirty years, the works of art have gone from the status of luxury goods to consumer goods. After the Second World War, there were only 500,000 collectors on the planet. Today there are nearly 450 million. There is a contemporary art fair somewhere every day, against 20 per year in the early 1990s. Production has also changed in scale: nearly 2 million new creations are produced every year, against 200,000 only three decades ago. The purchase of works of art is no longer reserved only for international merchants and rich collectors. This period is over. The « millionaire auctions », namely transactions of more than $ 1 million, are still publicized; however they are just one out of a thousand sales of the art market worldwide.

For decades, an art « collection » was formed late, after the building of a real estate and financial heritage. But this model is outdated. Now people in their thirties, who sometimes are still tenants, already own some works by internationally renowned artists.

Carlos Cruz-Diez – Chromointerférence Alicia 6, 2010 , chromography and silscreen on plexiglass, 50 x 60 cm © Adagp, Paris 2017

 

THE BENEFITS OF BUYING ART

When buying art, one often talks of pleasure, desire, emotion but also commitment, investment, tax exemption. Obviously, buying quality art remains an excellent investment in financial terms. The acquisition of a work of art is one of the safest investments as this area is less affected by the economical crisis than others.

It should be pointed out that art is accessible to all budgets. One can start investing in a promising artist from 2,000 €, knowing that the performance will be slower. But for entry tickets from 50,000 € to 100,000 €, the yields are mostly in the range of 5 to 15% per year. Let’s take for example on Artprice the results of the market evolution of the artist Carlos Cruz-Diez: € 100 invested in 2005 in a piece of work was already worth an average of € 2500 in 2015.

The gain on resale is proportional to the sums invested. Some collectors tend to make their purchases somewhat like they would put together a stock portfolio: in terms of risks and profits, it is a very good way to diversify assets.

Beyond its aesthetic qualities, a work of art would thus become a safe investment in times of financial volatility. More and more private banks are also encouraging the clients on their sites to invest in art: « Owning works of art diversifies patrimony. »

All the more reason to invest: the market is stable. In the worst case, the collector can sell his painting at the price he bought it, and gets his money back provided that he purchases the proper way.

HOW TO PURCHASE THE PROPER WAY

Artists visible on an international level should always be chosen, favouring formats or volumes of reasonable size; and betting if possible on the « rising values ». First of all, if you really want to invest in art for a profit, you have to find artists whose rating will rise over the years, and for that it is important to know where the artists come from, with which galleries they work, what are the museum exhibitions or the fairs they have already participated in.

Prices of an artist’s work are really linked to a multitude of events in which he is involved (exhibitions in galleries, museums, public or private commissions, public collections his works can be found in, the results they have obtained in the major international auction houses, see their rating on websites of companies that list the sales results such as Artnet or Artprice).

We must therefore be vigilant and enlightened. Asking for an artist’s resume is one of the first things to do when you want to invest in art. Let yourself be guided by the specialists: private consultants, gallery owners who are the intermediary between the artist and his public. Prefer those who accompany the artist’s career and know more about him than the work they present to you.

It can become exciting to follow the evolution of an artist we love, one that we chose. And if you want, you can invest more to support art in the making, to become an active player in the artistic life, and to enrich your daily life.

Claude Lalanne – Pomme de New York / 2006, bronze, 248 x 217 x 225 cm © Claude Lalanne. Courtesy Domaine du Muy. Photo: J.C. Lett

 

EMOTIONAL AND AESTHETIC FULFILLMENT

Invulnerable to financial market crises, this investment, in addition to being an extraordinary way to control one’s money, can also be guided by aesthetic pleasure. Works of art tend to reflect who we are. They also transcend our relationship to the world (sometimes complex, focused on technology, consumption, competitiveness, utility and profit).

Art is a haven of freedom and reflection. These paintings, drawings, engravings, sculptures, photographs, videos, installations, challenge our perception of the world. Art becomes a testimony.

Over time, some themes for building a collection can emerge: faith and spirituality, eroticism and sexuality, environment and nature, money, power and wealth, cruelty, violence and war, loneliness and alienation, humanity and its condition in the 21st century … A piece of work is a slice of life, the development of a feeling, a story, a character whose work will become more than familiar to you. Be curious! To sharpen one’s gaze is to look further than the image of a painting, a sculpture… To seek for the artist’s authenticity and what his work arouses in you beyond the form.

It demands the freedom to build accordingly to whatever animates, touches and stirs you. It is above all human and emotional.

Acquiring a work has a solitary, egoistic, intimate motivation. The act of buying remains an impulse, a mystery, a pact with oneself. In his quest, the buyer, a fortiori the collector, is always alone. Then comes the moment of communication and exchange. Because art is about opinion, reaction, debate, or even polemic. Then, for the lucky owner, art becomes about sharing, and in turn can he give back to others what the artist and the work have given him.

To own the work is to assert ones own taste, and thus essentially assert oneself, to pursue one’s passion to the end. By possessing, the pleasure is not stronger, it is simply permanent.

SOME TESTIMONIALS

Here are two testimonials from collectors explaining why they purchased and giving some tips to future buyers:

A tremendous freedom: to manage and build with my money, to support reflection and creation, to believe in people and their work, I also have a lot of respect for the work of gallery owners. Even though it remains a trade, I feel all the passion that drives most of them. My approach is very human and sincere. I believe in art and its evocative power to build a reconciled world. I am not a money maker and it is not greed that motivates my personal relationship with art. In short, I manage my business any way I want, I find some meaning in it and this makes me happy! The idea of encouraging talented creators is also part of this approach: Art is of crucial importance in a society.

The advice I would give collectors of all ages is to focus on the quality of the artist’s work, its originality, its relevance. In a « great artist » there is something out of the ordinary and inexplicable, unlike some overly calculated « business man » artists. It is necessary to be well advised and to study the inner workings of the system so as not to be trapped. A collection is always in the image of the collector, it is very revealing. The most beautiful collections are those of the most passionate, the most committed, those who give a strong and human sense to their purchases, and those who grow up with the works imbued with the message of their creators.

The role played by collectors in the artistic life, buying pieces, lending them, producing or helping the production of certain works is a great adventure! It is a way of affirming one’s status in society, of showing altruistic action. Buying art contributes to the construction of artistic value, to the vitality of the artistic scene.

left : Anne Vignal – Infinis / 2011, oil on canvas, 198 x 130 cm
right : Pascal Pinaud – Patère X / 2012, glass, acrylic, rubber, galvanized steel 191,5 x 89 x 9 cm   © Photo François Fernandez