A Guide in How to Invest in the Art Market Sensibly

Investing in the Art Market can be lucrative but like with all investments, there is risk involved.  This guide in how to invest in the Art Market is to help you make informed choices.

As small investors, we are probably not in the league of buying a Picasso or Monet.  However, there are still good investments to be made with lesser known and up and coming artists.  The secret is picking the right ones.

What should I Invest in?

I think to begin with we need to have an idea of what is selling and which markets are the most active at this time.  One of the ways to do this is to look at the main auction houses to give us a clue.  A recent study of paintings sold at Christie’s and Sotheby’s discovered that Impressionist and modern art accounted for about 30% of total sales.  25% was represented by 19th century paintings.  Post-War and Contemporary was 16% and lagging behind at 5% were Old Masters.

Henri Hayden ~ Browse & Darby
Henri Hayden ~ Browse & Darby

If we compare the results from the auction houses with the Mei Moses Art indexes ( widely recognized as the pre-eminent measure of the state of the art market) we will get an idea of what will give us the best return.  Researching the Mei Moses index we find that the Post-War Contemporary Index out performs the World Impressionist Modern Index by some margin.  This is especially true over the last 10 years.  Another index, The Art 100 indices also backs up these findings.

This gives us an idea of where the market is at this time.  However, we must remember that things can change.  What is popular now can very quickly become out of favour.  Therefore it is important to keep an eye on trends.

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Iain Faulkner ~ The master of the dramatic and mystery

Iain Faulkner is a Scot born in Glasgow in 1973. From an early age, Iain had an interest in art. Ian attended Glasgow School of Art and in 1966 left with a BA (honours) degree in Fine Art.

Unlike his contemporaries, Iain Faulkner did not pursue the usual route but chose the more demanding and difficult route of figurative painting. It was a good move.  By the age of 29, his endeavours and commitment have brought success in his relatively short career. His last four shows in both London and New York selling out.  He has also had successful shows in France, Switzerland, Spain and Italy.

A Feeling of Time Gone By

His work has a feeling of time gone by with many of his works containing a solitary figure. The images often contain an individual wearing braces and looking out to sea or land.  You could say that Iain Faulkner paints moments of contemplation.  They reflect those moments in life when you pause, think about a person or something. Maybe it is the beauty of a sunset or the vista in front of your eyes.

Iain Faulkner
Iain Faulkner-Contemplating Return

There is sadness in some of his works and a feeling of solitude, melancholy and loneliness which viewers find intriguing.  Maybe it’s the mystery or the dramatic. “What is he thinking?” or “what is he reminded of?”

They say a picture paints a thousand words.  Ian’s pictures do that because he relies on the strong, powerful images to give impact as there is seldom any narrative.

His colour palette is limited also which lends itself to the dramatic.  There is a marked contrast between the light and dark tonal parts of his work.  Ian Faulkner tends to only use two or three colours in most of his paintings, but each of his images is striking and powerful.

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Boris O Klein ~painting dogs was his meal ticket!

Boris O Klein (1893-1985) was born in Moscow in the USSR to French parents. He returned to France at a young age living in the region of Alsace.  He signed up and served in the French army during the First World War and afterwards moved to Paris where he continued to live until his death.

Boris O Klein became an artist and cartoonist and is best known for his hand coloured etchings of dogs getting up to mischief. They have become known as the ‘Dirty Dogs of Paris’ or ‘naughty dogs’ because many of the etchings portray lewd acts.

Boris O Klein
Hello, lovely Blond!
Painted under a pseudonym

He also painted under a pseudonym, “Jean Herblet” The reason is not known but perhaps under that name he produced more serious work.  All his work seemed to feature dogs however and under the name “Jean Herblet” he produced many hunting scenes.

It appears that most of his work was sold to tourists visiting Paris. It was this that probably led him to start producing prints as he could make multiple copies of the one image and sell it over and over again.

The “Dogs of Paris” series was produced by engraving.

When he produced the series that have become known as the “Dogs of Paris,” it amused and resonated with tourists and became a best seller for him and they have remained popular to this day.  The “Dogs of Paris” series was produced by engraving.

Boris O Klein
Boris O Klein – Join the Queue!

The technique requires the image to be “etched” into a plate of a hard surface by a tool called a burin. (These days usually copper).  Ink is then rubbed all over the plate and the excess removed leaving ink in the etched lines.  Good quality paper is needed which is dampened slightly.  The plate and the paper is then put under a press leaving the image on the paper.  Engraving is quite a time-consuming exercise as each print has to be individually done by hand.  Each print of the “Dogs of Paris” series was then hand coloured.

The most popular images of Boris O Klein

There are 30 images in the complete set of Boris O Klein “Dirty Dogs of Paris” and we hold in stock the most popular ones.

These are as follows:

Malentendue (misunderstanding)                       Oh Liberte (Oh Liberty)

La Profanteur (The Defiler)                               L’Etourdie (Bewildered)

Sans Interdit (Prohibited)                                   Tu Viens Beau Blond (a beautiful blond)

Eternels Ennemis (always enemies)                   W.C. Prive (private W.C.)

A La Queue (Join the Queue)                            Reviens Chouquette (come back chouquette)

Sus au Curieux (extra curious)                           Comme Nos Maitres (as our master)

Chacun Son Tour (each in turn)                         L’Attente (attention)

L’Inauguration (the inauguration)                      7,8,9 out…

C’est Impossible! (it is impossible!)                   Vous Voulez (you want to)

Zu tils nous l’ont Grillage! (damn they have a grille)        Hello, Beau Blond! (Hello beautiful blond)

Cercle Vicieux (vicious circle)

Boris O Klein
Boris O Klein – always enemies

Upon the death of Boris O Klein in 1985 his Grandson Eric, has taken over the production of these prints from the original plates and hand paints them to authentically match the originals of his Grandfather.

Boris O Klein etchings have remained very popular and can be found in many houses and establishments throughout the world.

 

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Robert Tilling ~ a much loved inspirational artist

This post is about an artist, Robert Tilling, who spent most of his working life in Jersey, Channel Islands and sadly is no longer with us. As a Gallery, we have been very fortunate and proud to display his work for a number of years and continue to do so to this day.

Robert Tilling was born in Bristol on the 29th September 1944.  He studied Architecture and Art Education and after working in the UK for a few years accepted a post in Jersey and became head of Art at Victoria College in 1968, a post he held until 1997 when he retired and concentrated on his painting.

He was elected a member of the Royal Institute in 1985, in 1987 he was invited to lecture at the Tate Gallery and in 1994 was awarded the prize for the ‘Most outstanding Work by a Member’ of the Royal Institute.

Robert Tilling ~Crane series Vl
Crane Series Vl
Robert Tilling ~Summer Harbour
Summer Harbour

Robert Tilling exhibited his work at various shows and was a major prize winner at the ‘International Drawing Biennale’ in Cleveland and was awarded the prize for ‘Excellence in Watercolour’ at the Royal West of England Academy Autumn exhibition in 2003.  His work is held in private and corporate collections around the world.

In Jersey, he illuminated two of the Loyal Addresses presented to her Majesty the Queen on her visits to the Island and the original of his watercolour ‘Distant Mont Orgueil’ reproduced to decorate the menu card for Her Majesty’s visit in 2001, was later presented as a gift to Their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex on their visit to the Island the following year.

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You just could not make it up in this crazy world of ours!

The art world is not immune from the bizarre and downright strange.

Here are a few examples of items from around the world that have caught my eye over the past few weeks.

Forgetful Art Dealer

Now I would be the first to confess that I am a forgetful person.  However, even I would remember if I was carrying a picture worth $1.5 million in a taxi, to remember to take it when I reached my destination.

Well, one French Art Dealer must have had a lot on his mind when he alighted from a taxi in Paris.  Why,? because he completely forgot that he had stowed away the painting in the cabbies boot for safety.

Lucio Fontana
A similar painting by Lucio Fontana as left in the taxi

Even more bizarre, he didn’t realise his mistake until the next day! ($1.5 million paintings must be two a penny to him)

He tried to locate the taxi he had used without success and had to report the incident to the police.  Lucky for him the cab driver was honest and within a couple of days, the painting was reunited with the dealer.  The painting was called ‘Concetto Spaziale’ by Lucio Fontana.

I would lay odds that he won’t do that again!

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The Humble Poster is Worth Collecting and can be a Winner!

I meet a lot of people who would like to begin making a collection of Art but are restricted by limited funds and hesitant on what to collect.

“Should I collect one artist’s work? Perhaps collect a particular genre or a subject matter I’m interested in” I often get asked.

What should I collect?
vintage travel poster
Vintage travel poster

These questions I cannot answer and each person would have to make their own decision.  A great deal will depend on available funds.  Collecting a well-known artist is likely to be costly and this route is only open to a few people.  However, it is possible to begin collecting art on a tight budget and one area where there is plenty of opportunities is posters.

Collecting a well-known artist is likely to be costly.

I’m not talking about the posters on cheap paper that you can pick up for a few pounds but vintage posters that have some age, have become highly collectable and the price of some is sky-rocketing.

Film Poster
Film Poster “Bus Stop”

Let me give you an example.  Back in 1963 workmen working on a building discovered hundreds of posters by Toulouse-Lautrec rolled up under some floorboards.  Now they weren’t all in the best condition but the best ones sold at the time for a few hundred dollars.  In the 1970’s those posters were changing hands for around $800 each and today their value is around $40,000 each and more.

Posters can be a Good Investment

These are eye-watering amounts and if you are fortunate to acquire posters that are in demand, the prices will increase.  It can turn out to be one of the best if not the best investment you ever make.  Certainly better interest than in the Bank.

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