March 7, 2012

Gerhard Richter's stock is up

In this video from Felix TV, Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon talks to Citi Private Bank Art Advisor Jonathan Binstock about whether artists can be treated like stocks and, if so, what it means for the art world. I didn't know you could buy a Velázquez for less than a Richter. I don't pay much attention to the art auctions, but how can that be?

 On left, Gerhard Richter, shown in his studio, is still alive and producing plenty of new work. On right, a detail from Diego Velázquez's masterpiece Las Meninas. Velázquez (Spanish, 1599-1660) included an image of himself in this famous painting of King Philip IV's family. His facile brushwork and simplified forms inspired many of the early Modern painters, particularly Manet, the Impressionists, and Picasso. Art is so rich, and yet the art market is so disappointing.

Watch the video below.




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2 comments:

"I didn't know you could buy a Velázquez for less than a Richter," this is totally and utterly ridiculous and one of the many reasons that the art market today is ruining contemporary art! Art history today is going to be written by stock brokers and wall street pendejos!

I wrote my art history thesis on Velasquez's Las Meninas and consider it a seminal piece of art, and yet, I think this makes perfect sense. The analyst points clearly to the laws of supply and demand, and he says the market is clear and measurable and fluid. In other words, no dictatorial force or all-knowing "art market" is ruling that a Richter shall be more valuable than a Velasquez, and that shall be law forevermore. Only you and I and art collectors can dictate that with our actions and our dollars.

And, certainly there are art collectors who are racing around from auction to auction to purchase works by Velasquez, for the very same reason that no one can dictate the value of artworks. Without question, there are people buying Richters and Hirsts because these works are hot right now. In that event, it's no different than someone buying the newest Alexander McQueen designs hot off the runways because someone told them to. But, for all those other art collectors who are buying Richters right now, maybe they feel his contemporary work, being of our time, resonates with them more than Spanish Baroque does.

The value of your house is exactly what a buyer is willing to pay you for it. The same can be said for your stocks, your cars, and, yes, your art.