art collector's taboo

Art collectors and their way of managing the headlines

Once in a while figures show a discrepancy between what people say and what they are actually doing.

ArtTactic and Deloitte Luxembourg have recently published a comprehensive research report on art as an asset class for investors. The report is the third in a row, and have interviewed many respondents who are either serious art collectors, banks and money lenders, people managing someone’s collection, and/or art professionals in general.

The study interprets substantial evidence on answers given to a number of questions including:
• confidence in the market
• their wealth management spread over asset classes including art
• ways of raising funds for art collecting.

One of the key findings is that the average wealthy individual currently allocates approximately 9 percent of his or her portfolio to art and collectibles. What is interesting here is that collectors quite obviously regard art as investments.

However, if you were to ask any of the top collectors visiting Art Basel, none of them would accept the vulgar suggestion that it was about the money. No, they collect solely for the love of art.

The vast majority of art collectors do not look at their purchases as purely investment-motivated. It makes a lot of sense, because there’s always an aesthetic value and inherent pleasure in owning art. When did you last see someone slap their share certificates on the wall? But here’s the great paradox, only 3 percent of collectors surveyed said they took an investment view only when purchasing works. However, the number of respondents who spend time examining the potential future performance of the works has risen dramatically from yesteryear.

But of course the answer is: “it is all the others, I’m a real collector for the love of art and I’m utterly disinterested in the financial value of my collection”.