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Displaying items by tag: investment

Monday, 29 September 2014 13:50

Delaware Art Museum Repays Debt

When Delaware Art Museum leaders announced in 2001 an ambitious plan to nearly double the size of the institution's Kentmere Parkway location, they likely had no clue the project would threaten to bankrupt the institution – twice.

In the end, the $32.5 million expansion plagued by cost overruns and construction delays saddled the museum with a crushing debt, which severely depleted its investment reserve fund and discouraged corporate and individual donations.

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014 12:09

A Look at Today’s Glass Art Market

There was a time when glass was a craft. But in recent years it has become something more: an established art form, and an attractive—and affordable—investment.

"Art glass is a great way to begin collecting art because there is so much available at so many price points," says Carina Villinger, head of 20th century decorative art and design at Christie's.

Since the launch of the Studio Glass movement in the 1960s, glass has slowly crossed the species barrier from craft to fine art. Today, examples of glass art include bright colors and arresting shapes, works that resemble paintings in glass, and objects both strange and familiar encased in glass.

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A self-portrait of Andy Warhol in a spiky fright wig sold for 2.9 million pounds ($4.98 million) at Phillips yesterday in London, concluding the spring auction season in Europe.

This week’s evening sales of contemporary art at Phillips, Sotheby’s (BID) and Christie’s in the U.K. capital produced a total of 202.4 million pounds, a 28 percent jump from the tally at equivalent events last year. New buyers from China and other international markets are boosting prices for top postwar and contemporary artists, as the works are being increasingly seen as strong investments.

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In a world of technology that grows at break-neck speed, our everyday life is constantly being altered. Everything from phones and cameras to sneakers, watches, air conditioners and even dog collars are “smarter” than us. As an art appraiser, my clients are prominent art collectors – predominantly high-net worth, sophisticated and tech-savvy. As such, they are often the first to try out the latest technological marvel. Except, as it turns out, when it comes to their art collection.

Considering that every week there is inevitably at least one news story relating to a high-value artwork theft, damage, fraud or authentication scandal, there is certainly a need for technologies to prevent such calamities. Those are only the stories that make the news, usually high profile works of art worth tens and even hundreds of millions dollars. As an appraiser, I am frequently called by clients who have had a theft, or even simply misplaced art, silver and decorative objects. The values are not comparatively impressive, but still worth a considerable investment in preventative technology.

Published in News
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 10:43

Reconsidering Rockwell

“Rockwell’s greatest sin as an artist is simple: His is an art of unending cliché.”

In that Washington Post criticism of a 2010 exhibition of Norman Rockwell paintings at the Smithsonian, Blake Gopnik joined a long line of prominent critics attacking Rockwell, the American artist and illustrator who depicted life in mid-20th-century America and died in 1978.

“Norman Rockwell was demonized by a generation of critics who not only saw him as an enemy of modern art, but of all art,” said Deborah Solomon, whose biography of Rockwell, “American Mirror,” was published last year. “He was seen as a lowly calendar artist whose work was unrelated to the lofty ambitions of art,” she said, or, as she put it in her book, “a cornball and a square.” The critical dismissal “was obviously a source of great pain throughout his life,” Ms. Solomon, a frequent contributor to The New York Times, added.

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State Farm Insurance is suing French art dealer Alfred DeSimone for either discarding or losing an original lithograph by the colorful French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). The lost work, Artistide Bruant Dans Son Cabaret, 1893, was part of a series of three posters used to promote French cabaret singer and comedian Artistide Bruant (1851-1925) around Paris in the late 1800s. The lithograph remains one of Toulouse-Lautrec’s most recognizable images.

State Farm is seeking $103,000 in damages from DeSimone for the centuries-old lithograph, which was bought by the insurance company’s client, Thomas Rosensteel, in 2006. Rosensteel purchased the work as an investment, but never ended up hanging it. While looking for a buyer, Rosensteel gave the lithograph to DeSimone for safekeeping, agreeing to pay him a fee once the work was sold. Rosentsteel found a buyer in 2010 and when he went to pick up the work from DeSimone, it was missing. DeSimone claims that the lithograph may have been put in a mailing tube and either sent to someone else or discarded. Rosensteel filed an insurance claim with State Farm who paid $103,109 to him; the company is now seeking compensation for the claim.

DeSimone, who has been experiencing financial troubles, has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing in the Toulouse-Lautrec case. A judge will review the lawsuit on April 25, 2013.

Published in News
Thursday, 25 October 2012 12:10

Artsicle Gives Young People a Shot at Collecting

The art world can be an intimidating place for an aspiring collector with a modest budget. Artsicle is here to help. Founded by Alex Tryon, 26, and Scott Carleton, 27, Artsicle is an online venture that rents inexpensive art at a low rate. Removing haughty galleries and astronomical price tags from the equation allows a new generation of collectors to figure out what they like. By allowing this often dismissed demographic to explore art collecting, they may be more inclined to make major investments further down the line when their pockets have a little more padding.

Artiscle launched in December 2010 and featured the work of 10 artists. Within a few weeks Tryon and Carleton decided to shift the site’s focus to renting rather than buying. The company went from shipping about 30 works a month to 100. Artsicle now feature 150 artists and has 3,000 works in its online inventory.

New clients take a quiz when they land on that reveals their visual predilections. From there, Artsicle assembles a portfolio that is meant to appeal to the visitor based on their likes and dislikes generated by the quiz. It costs anywhere from $25 to $65 a month to rent an artwork depending on the size. Clients can choose to renew the rental if they’re fond of the work or they can trade it in for a new piece. Buying is also an option and works usually run anywhere from $500 to $2,500. Artsicle keeps 50 percent of the rental price and 30 percent of sale.

As stated on their website, “Artsicle makes it accessible, affordable, and fun to get started collecting.”

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