into unchartered territory where they had previously feared to tread. That final leap of faith that had previously prevented the purchase of big ticket items online has finally been taken, and has really opened the flood gates. But at what cost?
Even more of a concern is the recent launch by a Chinese organisation of an online exchange for trading shares in works of art. Although many have talked about starting such a venture, no-one has been able to come up with a successful model – up until now. The market, operated by the government-backed Tianjin Cultural Artwork Exchange, is considered a financial innovation by the Tianjin municipal government. According to a Chinese government website:
“As we are told, the greatest highlight of TCAE is “trading of artwork shares”, namely public market trading based on the shares of the property right owned after the subject matter is evenly divided into certain shares. The cultural artwork can be traded through the e-platform of the exchange after being divided into shares. Investors can extend investment channels through investment in artwork shares.”
Also getting on the fine art share stock exchange bandwagon is a French company called A&F Markets who launched their exchange in January of this year. According to a press release:
“As of today, our clients will be able to see the first selection of artworks on the market, the price and volume of the shares available, discover how the marketplace works and what it offers and finally open an Art Exchange account in order to be the first to buy shares,” confirmed Pierre Naquin, founder of A&F Markets.”
Continuing on the subject of art investment, another sign that the art market is regaining its boom time momentum is the emergence of a new art investment fund. Emirates NBD, the UAE’s largest bank, announced at the beginning of February that they would be starting a new art investment fund as a means of tapping into the $10 billion Middle East art market. Clients will also be offered art investment advice from London based The Fine Art Find Group who have partnered with Emirates NBD.
Another worrying trend that has emerged during the first round of 2011 major art auctions is a noticeable resurgence in the interest of the work of artists who are boom time trophy hunter favourites such as Francis Bacon, Bridget Riley, Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili and Lucien Freud and others. Although it appears that buyers are remaining relatively conservative when it comes to purchasing works by these less “secure” artists, it is likely that it will not be too long before those irrational and indiscriminate demons rear their ugly heads. I also start to get worried when Surrealism takes centre stage because of the way the market approaches surrealist art. You see, Surrealism has become a sort of novelty movement that people like because it is unusual and intriguing. Unfortunately, few people understand Surrealist art and even fewer people want to understand it. Although the Surrealist art movement