Auction house guarantees have been an essential part of the top end of the art market for decades. But with more people than ever before clamouring to be third-party guarantors, auction houses increasingly simply structure the guarantee transaction and then sell off the risk to dealers, art advisors, or collectors who typically hail from the hedge fund, private equity, and real estate industries.
Selling a valuable work of art is a big responsibility that can push owners outside their comfort zones. There is so much money on the line, so many decisions to make, and so many questions about who to trust. How does one proceed? Let’s look at the real-life example of siblings I’ll call Jason and Lily, who sold their mother’s collection in 2015 after she passed away. Their story illustrates the pleasure and pain of figuring out the best way to sell major works of art.
Critics, collectors, and curators now use Instagram to share images of art that inspires and intrigues them. Jerry Saltz, the Pulitzer-winning art critic for New York magazine, has 287,000 Instagram followers. Yusaku Maezawa, the Japanese technology entrepreneur and collector who paid $110.5 million for a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, has over 100,000 fans.
Collectors are sometimes terrified to sell works of art at auction—and not without reason. Maybe the object will fail to sell, becoming tainted or “burned” in the eyes of the marketplace. Maybe the estimates the consignor agrees to are too low, and the work sells for a song. But selling at auction also exposes the work to the largest number of potential buyers, increasing the odds it will sell for the best price possible.
For most investors, stocks and bonds are enough. But for some, the prospect of hanging something wonderful on their walls that may also produce great financial rewards leads them to consider putting a portion of their wealth into art.
In early May 2018, David Rockfeller's three-day estate sale brought in $833 million for charity, setting an auction record for a private collection. As part of Rockefeller's very detailed estate plan, Christie's auctioned off more than 1,500 items from the estate of Peggy and David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller inherited many things: a storied name, unimaginable wealth, an inquisitive mind, and a profound compulsion to collect. Both his parents had the collecting gene. His father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was the only son of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and one of the richest individuals in American history.
Today’s casual art buyers may not fully appreciate the profound differences in how the art market functions compared with the market for stocks and bonds. Here’s a look at how those differences affect the risks and returns of being an art investor.
With so many works for sale, a recurring question for collectors is whether galleries or auction houses offer buyers a better deal. Based on my experiences as a collector, art advisor, and former President of the Americas for Christie’s, the answer depends on context and the type of work being sold.
One accurate cliché of the art world is that nothing matters more than relationships and information. High-end art dealers and auction houses know this better than anyone. How do they acquire these relationships and information?
Everyone loves Rene Magritte, the master of the surrealist image. Maybe the first time you saw something by him was when you noticed a poster of a train engine with a full head of steam inexplicably barreling out from the center of a fireplace in an ordinary living room.
To help their clients understand better how the art market functions and what it means for art collectors, UBS Wealth Management Americas created a 4-part pod cast series based on a recent interview they did with me. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Anthony Pastore, the On-Air Host at UBS.
Art museums in the United States live on the generosity of individuals. Most of the financial support they count on for their annual operating budgets come from individuals, or foundations and trusts set up by them.
More market participants than ever before now use a special tax strategy to help them defer paying capital gains taxes on the purchase and sale of art. This note explains how the tax strategy works and who is eligible to use it.
Art collectors are sometimes willing to share their hard-won wisdom and advice on how to be an effective collector. When I step back from all the conversations I have had over the years with collectors on this topic, seven important themes emerge:
Art is the ultimate discretionary purchase made by those who have the means and desire to own precious objects. The number of people with the means to acquire art has increased sharply, as has the subset that desires it.