CAMILLE PISSARO’s Le Louvre painting 311.
(photo credit: Wikimedia )
Knowing what art to invest in is never simple. Tastes change, trends end and the
players in the international markets shift.
“Art defies the types of
precise statistical analysis found in other financial market assets,” Jay Vincze,
the international director of Christie’s auction house in London, said Thursday
at the second annual ArtFi conference in Tel Aviv’s Habima Theater. “Just when
you think you understand a part of it, the world changes, the art changes and
you know longer understand.”
Despite it’s relatively small place in the
art world, Israel has become somewhat of a crystal ball for international
“We see the Israeli market as a seismograph of what will happen in
the US and Europe,” said Sigal Mordechai, managing director of Sotheby’s
“It’s the same thing but on a smaller scale.”
another, she said, the art sales that happen here each December have become
excellent predictors of the trends in London’s February auctions.
merely an expensive fixture for the wall, art is an asset in which collectors,
businesses and corporations invest. According to the experts at ArtFi, the state
of the financial art market is growing.
“Art has long been seen as a very
stable store of value,” Vincze said, noting that sales in recent years have
broken records. “Traditionally, art has also been seen as offering very handsome
Despite the difficulties of pinning down the next big thing
(and setting aside the hints Israel’s auctions may offer), several trends have
emerged in the art market recently. One of them is the growing importance of
Internet sales, which is broadening the base of buyers. At Christie’s, online
sales accounted for a fifth of the business in 2012. Of those that participated
in the online auctions, 39 percent were new buyers.
comfortable spending significant amounts of money without seeing the work in the
flesh,” Vincze said.
Not only is the Internet making the buyers’ market
more accessible, but the growth of emerging markets is globalizing the art
“A lot of the art we’re selling now is finding its way to places
where we have traditionally not done business,” Vincze said.
buyers made a serious entry to the market five years ago, and Asian clients
represented about a fifth of registered bidders for Christie’s. Their tastes and
cultural influences will take on broader significance in shaping the
Paired with recovering financial markets, the broader demand is
pushing art prices upward. But today’s first-time buyers are expected to also
become sellers in 10 to 15 years, meaning the international art markets will
Israel is playing a small but important role in those
According to Sotheby’s, the only international auction house
that has a dedicated focus of Israeli art, Israelis are becoming dedicated
international art collectors.
“In recent years there are more and more
Israelis buying international art alongside Israeli art,” Mordechai
Israel’s ever-innovative hi-tech culture and bustling arts scene
may inform its success in contemporary art, in particular.
something in contemporary art that deals with the here and now, whether it’s
political or social issues, that people identify with more,” Mordechai said.
Whether it is the forces of globalization or a string of other factors that make
the country an art microcosm, she