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Art prices… gallery versus auction

auke de vries gele labels

Today i added to my inventory a book by Auke de Vries for his Museum Wiesbaden exhibition from 1990. i knew the title and had sold copies before, but what made this one special is that on ca. 10 of the pages yellow post-it’s were fixed with gallery prices in guilders. I leafed through the book and was surprised to find the prices to be as steep as 50.000 guilders. It was not long ago that i attended 2 auctions where several small and larger sculptures by Auke de Vries were sold , fetching prices between euro 2500 and 4000 for a larger sculpture.

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I compared these with the 1990 gallery prices within the Wiesbaden catalogue and found that prices had devaluated with over 60% when compared with the actual auction prices including premium in 2017. Of course the gallery fees are  between 40 and 50%, but when you consider that money has devaluated too in these past two and a half decades the devaluation of Modern Art of a very good artist like Auke de Vries is over 80% compared with the original gallery price. Should i then still buy art?……YES! because you can have tremendous pleasure from it. You search for and find good art and enjoy it at home when you bought or rent it and yes… you support the artist with your buy, but if you ask me , should i buy art as an investment? my advise would be …be careful for the artist you select, because most of them will not be worth very much after a few decades.

But when you are patient, that means a period of 20+ years, you will discover that works by the artist you admire start to appear at auction and are much more affordable and even can be bought by most collectors for as little as a few hundred euro.  I can give you an example of a great Arie van Geest which recently was added to our collection for an extremely fair amount.

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You only learn of the auction records by artist like Warhol, Koons and Hirst, but you can ask yourself…are these works by these artists really that special or are they a marketing product… a true hype? if i did not know who the artist is and  did not know the value of a work …would i buy it ? In the case of Auke de Vries i personally would do so at the price level that i recently experienced at auction, but for the prices in the Wiesbaden catalogue i would “pass”. Art should not be bought as an investment and i dare say that the great collectors in the world never have bought art for its value, but because they admire the artist and his or her works and you should do the same, because there is still some great art to be found and bought at fair prices. www.ftn-blog.com and www.ftn-books.com have art for sale which is published in edition and is still affordable.

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Hans Haacke (1936)

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His career spans now a period of nearly 60 years and he has always been a frontrunner in the world of art. Perhaps yu can compare him with Damien Hirts, but do not forget that there is a difference of time between them of 3 decades. Haacke never reached the stature of a Damien Hirst, but when his works emerged and were introduced into the art scene… literally every large and important Modern Art museum in the world wanted a piece of the action. Haacke was “hot”. Moma , Tate and Museum Ludwig all started to collect Hans Haacke at a large scale.

In 1978 Haacke was asked for a one man show at the van Abbemuseum / Eindhoven ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com)  and with this show, the Netherlands started to know Hans Haacke as an artist. Nowadays his art is less prominent present in the collections of these large museums, but i am convinced this will change in the not so far away future, because i think Haacke is important for the art of Seventies and Eighties. A forerunner for the art made by the well respected British artist like Hirst and Tracey Emin. Haacke deserves a place among them. His contribution to art is a valuable one and deserves to be recognized as such.

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Damien Hirst (1965)… “Treasures” in Venice

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Question….who is Damien Hirst…a serious artist or a vulpine charlatan. In my opinion he is both. When Hirst started his career, his approach to art was highly original, finding an art form in which he commented on society and the world around him. In the past 2 decades his art was a hype and he made a tremendous amount of money creating and selling art to please his admirers and collectors. This is the moment I gladly forget Damien Hirst as a serious artist, but now there is his new show, The first in almost 10 years.

TREASURES FROM THE WRECK OF THE UNBELIEVABLE

in Venice in the Palazzo Grassi / http://www.palazzograssi.it and i must say, it fascinates. Perhaps it is a little overdone and because of the scale too much, but this world he creates is totally artificial but includes the icons Hirst loves so much and fascinates from beginning to end.  Disney figures combined with Kate Moss can de recognized in many objects, making this the Pop Art show of 2017.

A world created by Hirst as  if it is real discovery , but totally artificial and in no way to be kept together as one art object, because i am convinced that after the show in Venice all object will be sold to collectors for very serious money. For a much smaller amount you can find some Damien Hirst publications at www.ftn-books.com 😉