I MUST BE THICKHEAD!
I have been trading art for just about forty years, forty long years, since October 1983. I remember the ups and downs, the highs and lows but the recent mistakes are indeed hurting and never leaving me to rest. I feel bad, I did not manage to buy this and the other piece of art but also I am happy I bought this and that and made a kill from the investment.
There are two conflicting feelings I have constantly. Those of failures and serious mistakes and those of success and continuing success. What makes me tick today is that I have acquired, paid for it, a vast knowledge to use and invest wisely or stay outside the high prices of now for the future.
I regret I sold paintings by seriously major names like Seago, Hoffman, Montezin, Ralli, Exter, Ghika, Mai Thu but I also know that I was lucky to buy those artists but failed to keep one or two of them. Trading was the name of the game and investing in one meant that I had to sell in order to invest in another bigger name like the example of selling a magnificent Seago work in May 1986 in order to buy a magnificent Hoffman a month later.
Trading art and making substantial sums made it possible for me to buy art from artists and at the source. That was important as I could see as early as late 1980s that one day I would be unable to afford the high prices of auctions and high selling and buying expenses at auctions. Today’s buy and sell at auction means an additional expense of about 40%. The auctions offer a great service but they also enjoy huge returns.
The unfortunate sale of the Mai Thu paintings in the early 2010s haunts me now. I made a huge mistake and it hurts when I see paintings of his and those that I invested in reselling five or six times the amount I sold them for. There is one consolation though. Some of the artists I invested in and buying at studio and preferential prices are selling well at auction and make me feel not totally useless. Standing out right now is the work of Vasilis Zenetzis whose work started selling well again after a lull of some fifteen years. I would think after his passing away in 2016 people looked back at his work, see that there is plenty of good art, desirable art and content to invest in his work.
Zenetzis, The Propylea, Acropolis Athens, painted 1996
The future looks bright for art but who knows what will happen next with so much uncertainty in the world. In the meantime I am enjoying plenty of art in my collection and at home and if nothing else, every time I look at all these paintings I have accumulated, I get rewarded aplenty!
I never stop looking to invest at the right price for the right items and I hope that some day, some times I will be lucky in what I like and others hopefully will like.
Peter Constant BA, MA