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Why Contemporary art is Indeed Contemporary


Advantages and disadvantages of investing in Today’s Art!

Here is a man who has been investing in art for more than thirty years and knows what it is all about and how it works and is done. During those years I have invested in Contemporary art and profited but also have lost. Where do I stand today and what do I advise you readers to follow, if you do not know already what is best for you and your pocket.

Contemporary art is anything produced after 1945 until today. It could be abstract, representational, impressionist, cubist or anything any artist might conceive or imagine. Lights, magnets, sculpture of small size to big monuments, rubbish collection, underwear and add anything else you can imagine to the list.

Where is the money then, if all the above are in vogue? The simplest answer in in one word:

The artist!

It is confirmed through sales facts that the name of an artist creates the mega prices we witness at auction now and in the future for at least a few of these artists. Nothing invites us in the work of many artists yet, they sell for millions; to mind come Basquiat, Hockney, Doig plus plus many others.

The name of the above artists seems to be the pivotal detail on the canvases than anything about the art involved. Without the signature such art sells for a few pounds, not millions.

Costas Coulentianos was a great investment in 2002 when I bought a small nearly abstract piece of the artist at only 400 pounds to be sold later for twenty times as much. However, the next piece of his below, cost 3500 pounds and I am just about on the profit side of things 12 years later.

Then you have the established artists of contemporary art like Hans Hoffman, an artist I traded with significant success. He is still very popular and very expensive to acquire. However, Paul Kalllos whose painting cost me as much as the American artist has not only improved on the £6000 it cost me to buy in 1990 but has lost ground too.

Paul Kallos

Thus my short entry today begs the questions:

Which contemporary art?

Which artist?

Which country and why?

The questions above make sense to ask and if possible answer:

a. Any art that you like will do. No matter what it is the importance is on liking.You will live with the art, therefore you must like it in order to invest in it.

b. A contemporary artist who sells steadily and improves in value is possible for investment

c. Any country that does well economically offers a better chance of returns on its art too. I had great returns on Greek art from 1992 to 2007 but since then I can only say that my stock is stagnant and in negative territory. That however, is not true of other nations art like the Chinese or Vietnamese, Korean, Philippino art.

Concluding I have several pieces of advice for all investors and collectors; the profits can be significant in this period of art but also the losses. Thus caution and measure is advised strongly. A balanced portofolio is a good way to proceed.

Names matter most, art matters less and money might become thin air too. Thus liking of the art involved is primary!

Peter Constant

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