Friday, December 28, 2007


"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Assume for a moment that emerging artists are akin to value stocks. Like any true value stock, the work of emerging artists is often overlooked, and their worth and prospects underestimated. However, just as Warren Buffet will search out quality companies with distinctive attributes, art lovers can unearth emerging artists whose work is thoughtful, topical and passionately committed to a sense of relevance to modern life. And while the majority of investors fail to perceive value stocks' improving prospects until after the greatest gains have already been made, the opportunity to discover the value of emerging artists exists now.

The art market continues to expand at an unprecedented pace. 2007 marked the first time in history that total worldwide sales for Christie's and Sotheby's hit $10 billion. In November, Christie's posted its second highest total for sales of Post-war and Contemporary art at $325 million, second that is to the $385 million tallied in May. Notably, 93% of the works sold, and a dozen artists set records. Meanwhile, Sotheby's sold $316 million at its November sale of Contemporary Art, the highest auction total ever posted by the firm. Sotheby's sold 91% of its lots.

Art is attracting a new breed of buyer. At Sotheby's June sale of Contemporary Art, over 20% of buyers were participating for the first time. Around the world, young, urban and increasingly affluent professionals are choosing art as an accessible means by which to obtain a hallmark of their culture, while demonstrating their individuality and increasing their wealth.

The reasons for art's broadening appeal are varied, but beyond the worldwide expansion of wealth, what's taking place is a fundamental shift in the understanding that creativity engenders change. Whether it be municipal or county governments, educators, or art lovers, there is a new respect for the way that art and music inculcate culture, define generations, and influence the lexicon. When asked to characterize a decade, our responses most often include references to art and music. Art can and often does provide society with forward momentum.

Despite their unquestioned quality and finite inventory, sales results of the Old Masters haven't kept pace with those of the Contemporary and Modern art markets. Even Contemporary furniture outsells older fare at sales and auctions. Growth in the value of Modern Art has outstripped every other category of art at auction. According to Art Market Research, prices for Contemporary Art have quadrupled since 1995 while results for Old Masters have significantly underperformed. For the period between June 2006 and June 2007, Old Masters posted gains of 7.6% vs. 44.3% for Modern Art and 55.3% for Contemporary Art, according to the Hiscox Art Market Research Index. And Sotheby's sale of 304 lots during its sale of Old Masters in December, while yielding strong year-over-year results, nontheless pale in comparison to Contemporary Art results.

Two economists at NYU's Stern School of Business, Jiangping Mei and Michael Moses, have developed one of the most respected art indices. Their work centers around an examination of the auction results of over 11,000 sales transactions. Interestingly, in research reported in the magazine Registered Rep, they found that in over 4,500 cases it was not the most expensive paintings which provided the most return for investors, but those at the lower end of the pricing scale.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Russian Art phenomenon

On December 17, 2007 Art Times online magazine ( published year 2007 summary of sales of Russian art worldwide.

The total sales of Russian art at 4 major auctions in NY and London were 470 million USD (compared to just 230 million in 2006) During the last 5 years (including 2007) the sales grew approximately 83% annually!

Previously, the most popular works of art (in high demand at all major auctions) were Asian ones (Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Indian). For example, in 2007 the sales of Asian art at Sotheby’s totaled 450 million USD (vs. 260 million of Russian art). However, the rate of growth of this market segment was much slower than the Russian art during the last 5 years: just 20% vs 83%. Therefore, the experts predict that the Russian art sales will catch up with the Asian ones in 1-2 years!

We can also look at the figures from a different angle: the sales of Russian art accounted for 5% of total sales at Sotheby’s which is of course behind Impressionist & Modern art (25%) and Contemporary art (18%). But it is comparable with the sales of “old masters” (6%) which includes all sales of Western European art of XIII – XVIII centuries, which is very impressive.

Russian art is considered to be “exclusive” at all auctions, which means the demand for it much higher than the availability even at Cristie’s and Sothbey’s. Usually these auctions include 200-300 works of Russian art for sale per year and this is much less than the actual demand.

Also it is interesting to note that modern Russian art is in much more in demand than classic art: 9 out of 10 most expensive works of Russian art sold in 2007 were modern. The shift in “tastes” happened in the last 4 years: just in 2004 the sales of classic Russian art outnumbered the sales of modern Russian art 3 to 1.

What conclusion can we make? - :
Russian art is in high demand (great investment option)
Especially modern is in demand
Even major international auctions don’t have enough supply of Russian art (and let’s face it not everyone can pay the 6 figures prices for the exclusive lots)

Then, where can you get original affordable modern Russian art of excellent quality? – This international art gallery has unique works of art of about a dozen Russian artists. Their works are varied and they will satisfy every art lover.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Art galleries: for a fee or free?

Following up on our previous post here is another interesting phenomenon regarding entrance fees to art museums and galleries: in Russia there is no free entrance to museums and galleries. There are certain days and times when kids and teenagers can get free admission but this is not what this story is about. Most famous art galleries and museums in Russia charge DIFFERENTLY Russian and non-Russian citizens.

For example, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow charge foreigners 2,5 times more than the Russians; the biggest art museum in St. Petersburg, the Russian Museum, chargers non-citizens 3 times more!

The uniqueness of Capucines Boulevard art gallery is that you can see famous and emerging artists' works from Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Georgia for FREE and buy the ones you like on our site. And since the popularity of the Russian art has been growing tremendously for the last 5 years (check our blog later this week for the 2007 report on the Russian art sales) we are glad to offer our visitors highly demanded pieces to view and purchase in the comfort of their own homes.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Quiet Clamor for Art

Our society is continually influenced by art andartists. Art enriches our lives in innumerableways--it speaks to our emotions and imaginations. There are certain things that only an image can conveybecause it communicates to us at the level ofintuition, spirituality and the subconscious. Unfortunately, the negative effects of reduced artseducation funding in our country continue to be felt,although seldom directly addressed. Such cutbackscontinue despite the well-documented economic benefitswhich accrue to areas with exposure to the arts. However, governments around the world have finallyacknowledged the unique role that only art can play inproducing fully-rounded individuals, and as a result,a more fully functioning society.

In an era when many European governments have either taken steps to eliminate museum and gallery entry fees altogether, or dramatically reduced them in efforts to increase woefully low attendance rates among it citizenry, what could the rationale be for their maintenance?

The French government recently announced their intent to allow free entry into certain of their state museums and galleries, while entry into those throughout Britain has been free since 2002. In the U.K. visits since eliminating fees have increased an astounding 83% on average, or an incremental 30 million visits. More surprising is the fact that in some museums, 50% of the incremental visitors are new. This explosion in demand for art may highlight what was a pent-up desire to construct a life of greater fullness, one which is inclusive of art.

Capucine Price
December 5, 2007
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