ArtTactic Forecaster – and some art price guides

28 October 2013 § Leave a comment

For anyone who feels that they might be a dab hand at art investment its well worth taking a look at the new ArtTactic Forecaster – an online ‘guess the art price’ website. Yours Truly is of course competing assidously and is sitting comfortably and tactically at 6th overall (as absolutbargain!) – waiting to make a move for the top when the others aren’t looking. I’ll keep you updated!

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 18.17.43Sign up (for free) and every few days the site is updated with works each from a few new auctions. Auctions are worldwide, from the major auction houses and are categorised in to such area as Contemporary Photography, Contemporary Painting, Prints and Sculpture for example. Images, details and estimates are given for the works and using a slider you enter your own prediction for the sales price or estimate as a ‘No Sale’. After the sale you are marked school-style – a point for correct or a half point for close. ArtTactic then draws up league tables in each category as well as overall.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 18.29.59It is of course ‘just for fun’ and is a very appropriate and sobering reminder of just how difficult it is to accurately forecast auction results. Get more than 2 of the 5 right and you’re probably moving up the league table! The difficulty is most clearly brought home by the fact that the auction houses themselves would be well down the tables if their estimates were counted as their entries in the competition. They might say that their estimates are often tactical rather than necessarily accurate – but then again they would wouldn’t they!

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 19.40.19There is a more serious aim to the competition of course as ArtTactic presumably aim to attract investors and collectors to their product. ArtTactic after all is an art market analysis firm that offers research and commentary on the ever-changing art world. As new markets emerge and tastes shift, ArtTactic wants to offer the expertise for your to keep a close eye current and future art investments supported by ‘up to the minute information from all corners of the globe.’

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 19.16.48It has competition of course, all with slightly differing angles and priorities. Here are the main – and pretty much only – contenders: MutualArt (my personal favourite) , ArtPrice (French, and appropriately awkward to use), Blouin Art Sales Index (and online magazine), Artnet (a US company who also run online auctions), Artfacts (includes a very useful and pretty accurate free-to-use  artist ranking guide), Artfact (no ‘s’ – where you can also bid on various online auctions) and Gordons Print & Photography Prices (now part of Blouin, produce annual printed guides).

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 19.18.31

Anyone who doesn’t plan to use an advisor or consultant when buying art (in truth by far the wisest way to invest) it would be very foolish indeed not to sign up to one of the premium packages available from one or more of these companies. A full auction record of any artist you are investing in is an absolute must and along with various guides to the performance of individual artists or different sectors allows an insight not otherwise available.

A final word of warning beware the free to use companies – some of whom like Artsy are very professional indeed, who purport to offer a guide to prices, when they are in reality more like a selling platform for art of very varying quality.

massimo vitali at brancolini grimaldi

19 November 2011 § Leave a comment

It was surprising to discover that this exhibition is Massimo Vitali’s first solo UK exhibition in nearly fifteen years. Long overdue it is fitting that the recently-established Brancolini Grimaldi gallery, who specialise in photographic works, should also feature a fellow countryman.

Vitali’s stock in trade is the overexposed and washed-out image of over-populated locations. Beaches feature prominently as have discos and parties, whilst the current exhibition features coastal scenes. All are blown up in to a large-scale – typically about six feet high and more across – mounted under plexiglass to heighten a feeling of plastic unreality.

Talking briefly with Vitali at the exhibition it was interesting to hear that he started this theme of work following his despair at the Italian political scene when Berlusconi came to power. He decided to photograph the people of Italy to see if he could find any insight in to the way that they think. The mundane and everyday moments in locations of beauty such as beached appealed to him.

Despite many of the images seeming to feature almost uninhabited landscapes he confirmed that his images are still always about people. It is their interaction with the landscape and not the location itself which is most important. I loved his Firiplaka Red Yellow Diptych – a multicoloured cliff-face with a few figures walking the water’s edge at its base. It was an image he waited and waited for and only as the waves lapped over the top of the tall platform, from which he takes his high viewpoint shots, did he finally get the composition he wanted. In the end it was his favourite image in the show.

I personally prefer his earlier – even more washed-out – images but here is a top photographer close to his peak and it is worth stopping by for a look. Works are expensive – £30k or so, increasing towards the ends of the editions of six – but will surely hold their value.

Departing I snapped a final image and just as I did so a figure walked through the frame – it was Vitali himself, so I add the image below. Perhaps he would approve – after all he could be just another anonymous Italian in a beautiful coastal landscape….

At Brancolini Grimaldi until 28 January 2012

investing in art – a view from the top

23 July 2010 § Leave a comment

Fifty years in the modern and contemporary art business at the very highest levels gives one a pretty good platform to make some lofty observations upon the current art scene! Sadly this experience is not mine but that of a fellow art consultant – one of the biggest names in London – who I had the pleasure to join with for a very pleasant sunny lunch, a couple of cold beers and an informal chat. The top auction houses, big galleries, elite buyers and the best artists have been his world throughout these years and his knowledge is extraordinary. Got a few million quid to spend from your gazprom shares? No problem – he is your man!

Picasso Nude Green Leaves 1932

Naturally I took advantage of the occasion, in the nicest possible way, to scavenge as much valuable information as I could! We covered so much ground that all I will relay here are the edited ‘highlights’. There are no deep insights, big secrets, amazing revelations or instant solutions but it is perhaps a launch pad for some future in depth discussions – please join in!

Crash, what crash? The art market – especially at the top end has hardly faltered and prospects are bright – but stick to quality, second-best may suffer. For the greats like Picasso, Giacometti, Matisse – records will continue to be broken by the best works. Despite big names keeping their big price tags there is still excellent value to be found. And the best? Perhaps work by the great 20th century photographers – Cartier Bresson, Man Ray, Moholy Nagy, Brassai et al which can still be had for a few thousand pounds.

Henri Cartier-Bresson Hyeres

What are current trends in the galleries? The time of scruffy installations, Emin’s unmade beds and tedious navel-gazing of the 1990’s has now passed and painting will continue it’s ‘come-back’. Technical ability, workmanship, experience, effort – all those old-fashioned attributes – will once again be to the fore – but it goes without saying that invention and originality have to be there too! Richard Wright winner the 2009 Turner prize perhaps illustrates an element of the trend.

Richard Wright No Title 2005

Public and corporate purse-strings of course have tightened enormously – and it is probable that they will tighten further. It is clear that artists will now have to stop churning out ‘showpiece’ works aimed at galleries and corporate lobbies. They will need to once again look directly at the real ‘consumer’ – you and I – and produce work on a modest scale for normal homes. How will they cope!? Artists have to get real after a period of being spoilt by big budgets. And who is going to buy all the video that has been produced? Surely we will see much less in future. What is the future for technology – interactive works, digital screens, downloaded ‘limited edition’ pieces and so on? It is a big question but last week Kindle downloads overtook physical book sales on Amazon – might something similar happen in visual art? Download a limited edition work on to your portable device, upload at home to your digital picture frame. One year licence please, option to renew. Oh yes, in red please. Not quite yet, but soon surely?

OK – hardly earth-shattering stuff, but it is only by carefully gathering many opinions and snippets of information that any real insight emerges. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Cheers.

If you liked this post please make a comment or like it. If you like the blog please subscribe for regular updates (top right of page). Many thanks! akuta

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with photography at a kick up the arts.

%d bloggers like this: