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  • gerard van weyenbergh

Buy Art like you would buy a house, ice cream or a car insurance

Why this title? This last week I was contacted by a friend from Facebook who has a friend in “real” life who bought fine art. Her friend wanted to know if what he bought was a good deal. It broke my heart. The gallery told him after he bought a Carborandum by Picasso (worth $ 40,000 in auction) that he left the gallery with a Picasso that is worth $ 250,000 when he bought it for $100,000….

Her friend went several times to the gallery and bought for $ ½ Million a couple collotypes from Gustave Klimt. The complete Serie called “ Das Werk” is sold recently in Christie’s for $ 48,000 …. including 10 color collotypes and 40 black and whites!!!

He bought as well a little pitcher by Picasso for $ 50,000 when this best result in auction recently was $ 6,850!

He also bought a Matisse lithograph, at least that was he was described it was. Unfortunately, after analysis I discover that the print where the pencil signature of Matisse was added in the plate was in reality made 20 years after the dead of Matisse and was a simple repro. When you buy fine art in a gallery: - you better buy contemporary artists. Established artists like Picasso, Matisse etc. of course they have the advantage to speak to the imagination and the greed of people since they always making better records in auction. Gallery owners know that, and they anticipate the future results with 2x , 3 x , 5x, 10x markups! For contemporary artist a Gallery owner has to share the sales price with the artist who usually receives 50% of the sale. - If you still want to buy from a gallery, please check: a/ with an artexpert who will give you a free opinion about the value or a written appraisal for a couple hundreds of $. Note that an appraisal is not an art authentication. In an appraisal the painting is supposed to be real but not confirmed by a COA.

b/ with an auction data base like Artprice. Artprice is the only verified auction data basis. Smaller auction houses will not be registered in artprice since so much fake artwork is sold through the small auction houses. In Artprice you can request: - to see the results from high to low - the latest auction dates first - by size of the artwork - by date an artwork was created A Picasso from the Blue period sold $90,000,0000 has not the same value as a Picasso same size same subject but made after 1956.. The value of an artwork based on auction results has to be studied. The use of someone with auction experience is necessary to make the right comparisons. You can't compare apples and pears.

Another element important in these results is the place where a painting is sold.. A Belgian artist ( not the very high valued masters) will obtain a better result in a Belgian auction than in an Argentinian auction house.

c/ if you still want to buy an important artist like Picasso etc in a gallery you have to consider that it will take approximately 10 years before you will have your money back if you were to sell the art. 75 % of the art sold in auctions is sold to galleries and merchants who already pay a premium of minimum 25% to the auction house above the hammer price. Shipping, exhibition etc. are costs that will be added, and finally Gallery has to make at least a profit of 30% math is quickly done.

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