Provenance and the Art Market – artmarketblog.com

Provenance and the Art Market – artmarketblog.com

The art market boom has undoubtedly resulted in an increased level of art forgery and other fraudulent activities related to art which means that provenance (ownership history) has become an even more important factor for art investors and collectors. Some of the world’s most reputable art dealers have unknowingly sold artworks to people that have later on proven to be fakes so buying from a reputable dealer does not mean that you are immune from art fraud. In my experience there is only one thing that you can do to help protect yourself from art fraud and that is to check and cross check the information you are provided with in relation to an artwork to ensure that what you are being told is correct. In an effort to help prevent art fraud – museums, galleries and other organisations around the world have set up searchable provenance databases and indexes that art collectors and investors can use to help confirm the provenance of works of art. Many of the provenance databases concentrate on the period 1933-45 (World War II) during which many artworks were looted by the nazis but they are still a useful resource for art collectors and investors.
Below is a list of some of the best provenance resources:

The Getty Provenance Index
http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/provenance_index/

The National Gallery of Art Provenance Search
http://www.nga.gov/collection/srchprov.shtm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/provenance/index.asp

Harvard University Provenance Research
http://www.artmuseums.harvard.edu/provenance/servlet/webpublisher.WebCommunication?ia=tr&ic=pt&t=xhtml&x=prov

Chinese Art – Research into Provenance
http://www.hatii.arts.gla.ac.uk/admn/php/carp/index.php

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

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Absent Data Equals Art Market Fear – artmarketblog.com

Absent Data Equals Art Market Fear – artmarketblog.com

If knowledge equals power then knowledge also equals confidence, especially when it comes to making decisions, because being knowledgeable on a certain subject allows one to be confident in the decisions that one makes in relation to that subject. Conversely, a lack of knowledge equals a lack of confidence that in turn causes pessimism and fear.

The art market is all about confidence:

-the confidence of the collector in their ability to purchase a work that represents good value for money and will add value to their collection
-the confidence of the investor in their ability to identify a profitable work of art
-the confidence of the investor in their ability to predict the future of the art market or the future value of an artist’s work
-the confidence of the seller in their ability to identify the right market for their work and the right time to sell

The plethora of art market data and information that we have at our fingertips, thanks mainly to the internet, has given art investors and collectors the ability to make informed decisions and make much more accurate predictions. This increase in available information has in turn dramatically increased people’s confidence in themselves and the art market in general. Looking back to the art market boom of the early 90’s there was no where near the amount of data and information available on the art market and consequently a much lower level of confidence from those involved in the art market. Without the wide availability of data and information people were far more cautious with the decisions they made and far more reluctant to take a risk.

According to Thierry Ehrmann of artprice.com, “In the early nineties the art market had no reliable source of real-time information comparable to the stock market. Remember that, not so long ago, if you wanted to find an artist’s benchmark price you had to flick through thick books and even then you would only find a sample of results from the previous year War in Iraq stirs up bad memories. The first Gulf war in 1991 triggered a dismal slump in the art market.” When things go wrong in any market the first thing people usually do is analyse the data and make comparisons and predictions etc but without this data one can really only presume the worst.  The Gulf war was a time of great uncertainty which, partly because of the lack of available information on the art market, resulted in extreme caution and pessimism in the art market.

See the rest of the series analysing the 90’s art market correction here:
http://artmarketblog.com/2008/05/12/crashing-the-art-market-japanese-style-artmarketblogcom/
http://artmarketblog.com/2008/05/14/art-plus-wealthy-egotists-equaled-chaos-artmarketblogcom/
http://artmarketblog.com/2008/05/22/war-and-the-art-market-artmarketblogcom/

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Art Plus Wealthy Egotists Equaled Chaos – artmarketblog.com

Art Plus Wealthy Egotists Equaled Chaos – artmarketblog.com

The last post I wrote dealt with the reasons for the beginning art market crash in 1991 in which I said that I would continue with this topic for a few posts. The reason that I have focused so much on the events surrounding the collapse of the art market in 1991 is that many of the events that caused the collapse are extremely unlikely to re-occur. My aim is to show that the current art market is so different to the art market in 1991 that the comparisons that people are making between the art market then and the art market now are not relevant.

As I outlined in my last post, the main protagonists of the art market crash were the Japanese who at the time were riding on the back of a booming Japanese economy and had money to burn. A very limited understanding of the art market and an extremely narrow experience with western art combined with a hunger for acquiring goods that would increase their social status and display their wealth to the world led to a situation that would ultimately prove fatal for the art market boom. What the Japanese buyers wanted from the art they purchased was their photo in the newspaper and as much media attention as they could attract. In order to get this attention the Japanese buyers basically targeted works by the most famous western artists and were willing to pay what ever it took to get hold of these works. As a consequence of this narrow and irrational buying the Japanese buyers ended up paying way more than the works were worth. The high prices being paid by the Japanese gave created a false impression of the state art market which in turn gave people a false sense of security.

Because the main motive of many of the Japanese art collectors was to associate themselves with the famous western artists they were far more likely to purchase a second or even third rate work by a famous western artist than a high quality work by one of the many amazing emerging young Japanese contemporary artists. One example was the collector Yasumichi Morishita who in one month bought 100 impressionist and post-impressionist paintings for a total of $100 million dollars many of which were deemed to not have been worth the money he paid. Coincidentally Mr. Morishita was involved with criminal activity (see previous post “Crashing the Art Market, Japanese Style”), as were many of the rich Japanese art buyers, and had been previously charged with two criminal convictions for fraud and extortion.

The immature Japanese art market that was based on an extremely limited variety of works and on values being artificially inflated was never going to last long. The rich Japanese buyers had such an effect on the art market that when they pulled out the art market virtually had a panic attack and collapsed.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

How to Exploit Dirty Art – artmarketblog.com

How to Exploit Dirty Art – artmarketblog.com

In modern society everyone seems to be determined to fit in as much into their day as possible and most people seem to be under the impression that with every single event in their lives, no matter how small, “time is of the essence”. Because of the hectic lives most people lead these days there has been a drop in the demand and value of artistic objects that require some sort of ongoing maintenance such as brass and silver. No longer is it considered worth while to get out the silver table ware on a Sunday afternoon and have a good old family polishing session. The change in lifestyle has also affected the desirability of silver with the use of silver ware declining due to the huge reduction in the number of people who entertain on a regular basis or are not entertaining the sort of crowd who would appreciate being served from a silver teapot.

There is also a tendency for people fail to properly care for their artworks for the same reason that they neglect their silver or brass ware. If you have ever been to an art auction you would most likely have seen an array of paintings covered in layers of dust and who knows what else being put under the hammer. Savvy collectors and dealers will buy these paintings, clean them up, and then sell them on for an easy profit that is basically the result of people’s lack of free time.

Just because people aren’t interested in silver at the current time doesn’t mean that they won’t be interested in silver in 5 or 10 years time so you might like to take advantage of the low prices being asked for antique silver many of which will be no more than the value of the metal its self. The same philosophy goes for paintings in need of cleaning or repair, just make sure that the cost of cleaning or repair will not be greater than the profit you are likely to make.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Using Logic to Beat the Art Market – artmarketblog.com

Using Logic to Beat the Art Market – artmarketblog.com

Making predictions regarding the art market or the value of an artist’s work is always going to be a difficult task but there are certain instances where one can make an educated guess based on common sense, logic and historical data. By analysing artist’s careers, different country’s art markets or the history of the art market as a whole it is often possible to identify a recurring series of events that continually occur in the same sequence or have resulted in the same outcome.

As with pretty much all investment markets, there are plenty of instances where a logical cause and effect scenario can be identified. Take, for instance, the Indian art market, which has recently experienced a major evolution fueled by increased wealth in the country and an increasing participation in, acceptance of, and correlation to, the western art world as a result of the globalisation of the art market. Although the Indian art market is modernising and westernising at a rapid rate there is still a long way to go before Indian art collectors and investors are as open minded and worldly as many western art collectors and investors. Modern installation works, sculptural works and conceptual works have until recently been an almost completely foreign concept for the Indian art market with the traditional paint on canvas being the most widely accepted and recognised medium. Because of the popularity of paintings, Indian art buyers are less inclined to purchase a work of art that is not a painting unless the artist has already gained acceptance and recognition as an accomplished painter. What has been happening in India is artists who have started their career working in mediums other than painting have not been accepted by the Indian art market yet artists who establish their career as a painter first are able to successfully move into other mediums once the market is comfortable and familiar with their paintings.

Because of this trend there is an opportunity to purchase works of art in mediums other than painting by Indian artists whose work may have been overlooked and undervalued due to the fact that they have not conformed to the traditional tastes of the Indian art world. If an artist’s works are considered to be too “modern” or “unconventional” in India, chances are the western art market would be extremely interested in them. There might also be the opportunity to purchase an undervalued work of art by an artist who was working in a medium other than painting but is going to move into painting into the future thus potentially increasing their value as an artist.

Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of common sense and logic to uncover potential opportunities to profit from art.

Image: Bosedkdesigns.com installation by Indian artists Thukral and Tagra

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

Art Market Blog – Favourite Artist Update

Art Market Blog – Favourite Artist Update

falling-up.jpgI come across some fantastic artists in my day to day dealings some of whom are particularly exciting and have captured my attention.  I like to keep a track of these artists and keep up to date with their careers which I find quite inspiring so I thought that I would share with you all some of the recent significant achievements of a few of my favourite artists, all of whom would be a great investment by the way (I already own works by two of them).

Boo Saville – Boo Saville was one of the artists chosen to exhibit her work in the Saatchi Gallery stand at the London Form Art Fair from the 28th of February to the 2nd of March. A solo show of Boo’s work (her first) will be held at Martin Summers gallery in London which will open in April. Check out Boo’s work here

Amy Stein – Amy’s career continues to sky rocket with her “Domesticated” series of photographs currently being exhibited at Paul Kopeikin gallery until the 26th of April. Also being exhibited is Amy’s photograph “Peri, Route 64, Kentucky” from the series Stranded, 2005 which is currently on show at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the “Car Culture” exhibition until the 27th of April. Check out Amy’s website at http://www.amysteinphoto.com

Lynda Lehmann – Lynda had a successful solo exhibition titled “PERIPHERAL VISION” at the Alfred Van Loen Gallery at the South Huntington Library in South Huntington, NY, from the 9th of February to the 6th of March. You can check out Lynda’s work at http://www.lyndalehmann.com

Tattfoo Tan – Tattfoo Tan has recently been mentioned in various different publications recently including the New York Times, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Metro, New York News Day and Art News most of which have featured Tattfoo’s NMS mural project. The NMS (Nature Matching System) is a chart of colours that correspond to different foods and was “developed by Tattfoo as a reminder to consume your daily recommended doses of color. The shades of color displayed at farmers’ markets are more than skin deep, reflecting the inner potential of every fruit and vegetable; intense colors might even be called nature’s nutrition labels”. This chart was turned into a large mural and has been installed on Front Street in Brooklyn where it will remain until January 2009. For more info visit http://www.tattfoo.com

Image: “Falling Up Part 1” by Boo Saville

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.