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Friday, Jan 07, 2011
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London, Jan. 6
It was just a matter of time before art joined the burgeoning ranks of objects that can be invested in on a public exchange.
On Monday, the world's first Art Exchange will be launched by Paris-based A&F Markets, offering an opportunity for individuals and institutions to buy and sell shares of famous artworks. It will be located in Paris. People from across the world, including India, will be able to invest, Pierre Naquin, the founder of A&F Markets, told Business Line. “The market will be open to all countries,” he said, adding that the company had already received many enquiries from Asia, Russia, and the US, as well as several financial institutions.
Opportunities to invest in art already exist, through art funds with varying degrees of success. In the view of Art Exchange's founders, transparency and liquidity have been major stumbling block: problems overcome by the new exchange.
“We believe that we respond to a clear demand from financial players: the opportunity to invest easily in a highly appealing asset that has, until present, not been possible,” said Naquin.
The exchange will begin modestly: working with six Paris-based galleries, and will include works by contemporary artists, including Mike Kelley, a Los-Angeles-based sculptor and installation artist, and Russian artists Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexander Vinogradov.
“We want to work with the most important artists in the world to generate interest,” said Naquin. He added that while the focus would initially be on European art, the company was set on expansion. “For us, it is very important to see how people react and we will adjust accordingly. We have to be flexible.”
Shares will be available starting at around €10 each, and detailed brochures on each piece will be available to interested investors. Details on the price of investments, and trading volumes will be publicly available.
News of the exchange has already attracted the rather predictable criticism that it will further commoditise art. However, Naquin believes the exchange will just open up art to a far wider audience. Part of the firm's mission will be publishing the art works and artists on the exchange, including through exhibitions. “We don't think it will change the situation for collectors. We are just expanding the public that can buy works of art,” he said.
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