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Art a lucrative investment, says economist

Art is a good investment, especially if you buy art made by the masters, says a highly acclaimed economist.

Michel-François Clerin
Michel-François Clerin
The thriving art industry and investing in art are topics (The Passion for the Art) Michel Clerin will tackle during an art exhibit and conference beginning tomorrow. The art exhibit and conference, which will run until December 28 at the Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel, will showcase the works of around 90 artworks, paintings and sculptures, by six artists from Spain and France.

“For instance, had you invested $1m in the Standard & Poor index in 2000, today, that investment would have been worth $850,000, so over 10 years’ time, the investor lost a lot because Standard & Poor index in 2000 was higher than what it was worth today. So in the decade between 2000 and 2010, that would have been a bad investment…,” said Clérin in an interview.

“Had you bought art of wellknown artists in the year 2000, and despite the recession, the price of art has nearly doubled in the last decade. As an investor, but also as a collector, I can tell you that not only is it a nice investment, it is also, of course, easily saleable… it is very easy to sell a piece of art if you need cash by going through major auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s… and you enjoy it. You put a painting in your villa, it looks good, you enjoy it,” he added. Clerin said he will be giving
figures to compare prices of art bought in 2000 and the price of what that particular piece of art will cost today during his speech at the conference “The Dollar, Oil and Art.”

“The Dollar, Oil and Art” conference will discuss why artworks are more lucrative investments these days and why big and medium investors are looking into it. The growing number of buyers of works of art from the Middle East will also be discussed during the conference. The entire talk will center around the relationship of the dollar, oil and art.

Clerin said he will also be talking mostly about Spanish art as it has more link to the Arab world. “Spain is a country with an historical link with the Arab world… from the 8th to the 14th centuries Arabs basically settled in southern Spain in Al Andalus, now called Andalusia.”

“So dating from the 8th century, Spain has a special relationship with the Arab world. For around seven centuries, Arabs occupied southern Spain, and some of the most beautiful architectures in the world is in southern Spain… where you will find the Alhambra in Granada, you will also find beautiful Islamic architecture in Cordova, Seville and Cadiz… it was Arabs in Al Andalus who were in the forefront of civilisation in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries… From the 16th century, Spain has developed its own great artists, like Velasquez, El Greco, then Goya, Picasso, Dali, Juan Miro, etc. Spanish art carry tremendous prices in the world of art… To invest in a Spanish painter, you do not have too much risk because there is a tradition of excellence in painting in the Spanish world…”

Mercedes Duerinckx, coowner of the Art Wanson Gallery, the organiser of the event, said they have a lot of clients from the Middle East. “They comprise 60 percent of our buyers, the rest are from France, Germany and some other European countries… In Marbella, there are some Arab residents there who are very much interested in art and they attend most of our private exhibits.”

Duerinckx said the conference “The Dollar, Oil and Art” is part of the “Passion for the Art” exhibit, an exhibit that will feature the works of Valentin Kovatchev, Gari, David & David, Emmanuel Zurini, Christian Sauvegrain and Amador Braojos. Clérin graduated from the Louvain School of Economics and the University of Chicago, worked initially at the Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and the BNP Paribas Group. He acted as policy advisor for Art a lucrative investment, says economist various governments on behalf of the European Commission, USAID and the World Bank.

Kovatchev, a well known Spanish artist of Bulgarian origin, said he was eager to come to Qatar as he had been doing some work for a member of the royal family here. “I had been commissioned to do some portraits and drawings by a member of the royal family here around four or five years ago.” Most of Kovatchev’s paintings showcase familiar places in the country, and the rest are about horses and falcons. “I was given some books about Qatar by the member of the royal family who asked me to do those portraits and drawings… so I know about the country already even before coming here.”

The exhibit will also be held in New York, Paris, Milan, Berlin, Monaco, and other cities known for their love of art.

Michel-François Clerin
524 Av. Louise
B-1050 Brussels - Belgium

Mercredi 13 Janvier 2010

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