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How to estimate, how to invest: the 11 questions about art and money you dreamed of asking


Art and money: in a world called desire where people are reluctant to talk about numbers, these two themes go hand in hand. Decryption of a business apart, on the eve of an exhibition without taboos at the Monnaie de Paris.

Andy Warhol said that “being good at business is the most fascinating art form”.


Dollar Sign

, the calligraphic dollar symbol, is one of the 200 works selected by Monnaie de Paris for the exhibition

L'Argent dans l'art *


Camouflaged, duplicated, exhibited, money has always fueled the creative imagination, from Croesus' golden stater to Edgar Degas's Portraits on the Stock Exchange.

To discover

  • Exclusive Madame Figaro visits


    register for Art Paris on April 1

“Since Antiquity, art has questioned its value.

With capitalism, the work has become a commodity like any other, notes the curator of the exhibition, Jean-Michel Bouhours, former chief curator of the Center Pompidou.

Today, it is no longer the quantity of work that determines its value, but the buyer's desire.

Art touches on the unquantifiable: dreams, pleasure, what Karl Marx called “the enigma of value”.



by Jeff Koons, is it really worth 91.1 million dollars (84.5 million euros)?

Why does the

Salvator Mundi

attributed to Leonardo da Vinci snatch 450 million dollars (417 million euros)?

Everything you always wanted to know about the art business in ten points.

To read also Life-size Monet, the tarot cards of Virginie Despentes & La Rata, the Kubrick box set... Our 5 cultural must-sees

In video, Business with Attitude: Amélie du Chalard, founder of Amélie, art house

How is an artist's rating constructed?

Becoming the Gerhard Richter or the Cindy Sherman of tomorrow takes time.

Beware of the showbiz effect!

Sharon Stone or Pharrell Williams love Orlinski's pop gorillas?

The Marseillais, stars of reality TV, appear in front of their

Wild Kong

on Instagram?

Bad omen !

The artist may be the best-selling French sculptor in the world, but his rating peaks at 26,813th on ArtFacts, the platform establishing the list of the best-rated artists of the modern era.

Out of twenty young artists whose rating is soaring, two or three will stand out over time

Laurence Dreyfus

Assessed according to supply and demand, the rating – the estimate at a precise moment of the market value of a work – improves like Petrus: you have to catch the eye of a collector, enter in the galleries that matter, ignite the auctions, land an exhibition in a prestigious museum, generate media buzz...

“The galleries do a long-term job, sums up Laurence Dreyfus, a renowned adviser in the acquisition of works of art, who scours workshops and international fairs in search of emerging talent.

The very developed appetite of the Asian market has propelled what I call the

hot cake artists,

these buns that we tear off but whose rating is running out of steam.

Out of about twenty young artists whose rating is soaring, two or three will stand out over time.

How to invest

in a work?

Are you planning to buy an apartment?

You multiply the visits, compare the prices per square meter, spot the neighborhood that is rising... Investing in a work requires the same reflexes.

"If you decide to collect, it's like practicing a sport, you have to train: read art magazines, visit museums and galleries, get an eye," recommends Nathalie Obadia, Parisian gallery owner with an influential flair. , which spotted, among other nuggets, the visual artist Laure Prouvost long before her consecration at the Venice Biennale in 2019.

If you decide to collect, it's like playing a sport, you have to practice

Nathalie Obadiah

His advice number one: buy what you like.

Second tip: don't rush.

“You have to be wary of the FoMO syndrome (

Fear of Missing Out

), this anxiety of missing out which creates excitement around an artist, continues the specialist.

Before buying, it is very important to consult his biography: which galleries show his works?

Which museums have acquired them?

To reduce risk-taking, market strategists rely on signals sent by tastemakers 


these taste makers, a handful of gallery owners, collectors or exhibition curators who drive up an artist's ratings and prices (from 5 to 10% every two years for a promising artist): obtaining an opening at Emmanuel Perrotin, Larry Gagosian, Kamel Mennour or Chantal Crousel, being inducted by the Pinault or Arnault Foundation, exhibiting in an art center or a museum are pledges of sustainability.

The latest records

November 9, 2022 at Christie's, in New York, remains the evening of all records.

The collection of Paul Allen, founder of Microsoft, exceeds 1.5 billion dollars (1.3 billion euros) at auction.

Among the five paintings to join the select club of works sold for more than 100 million dollars (92 million euros):

Sainte-Victoire Mountain,

by Cézanne (137.79 million dollars),

Orchard with Cypresses,

by Van Gogh (117.1 million dollars), or 

Birch Forest,

by Klimt (104.5 million dollars)... 2022 is an exceptional vintage for mega-auctions.

Still at Christie's, in New York,

Shot Sage Blue Marilyn

sold for $195 million (€180 million) in May 2022. Andy Warhol's portrait of Marilyn Monroe becomes the most expensive painting of the 20th century.

How to estimate a work of art?

Without reaching these dizzying amounts, the entry ticket to acquire a work by a promising artist skyrockets: count around 30,000 to 40,000 euros, whereas it was "only" 5,000 to 10,000 euros a year ago. decade.

“A work is all the more valuable when it is rare, innovative and authentic,” explains cultural economist Nathalie Moureau, who co-authored the very comprehensive

Contemporary Art Market (

published by La Découverte).

Three factors contribute to the formation of prices: the artistic value legitimized by the authorities (curators, gallery owners, private museums, etc.), the media value (fashion effects, scandals, record auctions), and the type of work (multiple , unique, precious materials used...)»

A work has all the more value if it is rare, innovative and authentic

Nathalie Moureau

Acquiring an emerging talent makes it possible to combine pleasure and profitability.

To invest at the right price, Laurence Dreyfus recommends consulting the ArtNet and ArtPrice sites, which serve as a market barometer, and using common sense.

"Is a young artist who is known only from his small perimeter and who has not had an exhibition in a museum or an art center really worth 40,000 euros?" Asks the specialist.

What are international fairs for


Art Basel, Art Hong Kong, Art Miami… International fairs spread around the world like haute couture brands.

There are more than 200, but not all of them are equal: you have to be seen in Basel, London or Paris... “It's a moment when the excitement is at its peak, says gallery owner Nathalie Obadia.

As in the theater, buyers, sellers and art advisers come together in a unity of place and time, this allows galleries to show the best of their artists' production.

The concentration of wealthy clients also allows them to achieve a large part of their turnover.

Private visits, popular dinners, talks... collectors are pampered, presales are offered to the most loyal.

Why so many foundations


Without LVMH, the Musée d'Orsay would never have been able to afford a national treasure for 43 million euros:

The Boater in a Top Hat,

by Caillebotte.

Since the inauguration of his foundation in 2014, the billionaire Bernard Arnault has been making rain and shine on the art market.

Cartier, Pinault, Pernod Ricard... Rare are the Cac 40 companies that do not have their own foundation.

The Villa Carmignac exhibits 300 works on the island of Porquerolles, the François Schneider Art Center supports artistic projects at the foot of the Vosges...

"Creating a foundation is for the patron a desire to be of his time, to act other than by success", underlines Virginie Burnet, founder of the agency L'Art en plus, which accompanies private actors. engaged in creation.

Rarely invoked by collectors, other motivations accentuate this profusion: the need to distinguish oneself (when one owns superyachts and private jets, art is "the" most) and the speculative virtues of the art market.

Since the Aillagon law of 2003, the sponsorship scheme provides for a 60% deduction on corporation tax, a deduction which rises to 90% when the donation is made in favor of a national treasure such as the Caillebotte.

What is the role of free ports


True artistic hubs, these 50,000 to 70,000 square meter warehouses, located in Geneva, Monaco, Singapore or Luxembourg, allow art dealers to store their works in ultra-secure spaces.

Good accounts make good shelters: the use of free ports is explained by advantageous taxation.

“These places offer many services (showroom, expertise, supervision, etc.), but they are above all market places where transactions are exempt from tax, underlines economist Nathalie Moureau.

Several cases questioning the honesty of the transactions carried out have only confirmed the need to strengthen controls.

How do gallery owners get paid


Singapore, Seoul, Geneva, Marrakech, Los Angeles and New York: just for January and February 2023, globetrotter Nathalie Obadia runs workshops, fairs in search of talent for her team.

His next trip?

Maastricht, where the unmissable TEFAF fair is held.

His mantra: "Sales are invented."

Being a gallery owner means promoting artists by showing them where they should be seen, by displaying them in catalogs and at fairs.

“First view” contracts can commit the artist to showing his works as a priority to his gallery owner.

Galleries are most often remunerated by taking a percentage of sales, from 10% to 80% depending on the notoriety of the artist and the work done to propel him on the market.

What is the secondary market for


From the first to the second market, there is only one rating!

In the first, the artist is not yet a star.

The price of his work, presented in a gallery or a fair, is fixed for the first time.

As soon as the work is resold, it goes to the secondary market, where most of the works at auction go.

And the artist becomes listed!

Sotheby's and Christie's reign over this sector.

“To attract the wealthiest sellers, firms are developing a whole arsenal of strategies,” observes Nathalie Moureau.

Like the exemption from commission: usually, auction houses are compensated by taking a double commission calculated from the auction price, one paid by the seller (about 10%), the other by the buyer (up to 25%).

The most prestigious sellers are exempt.

They can also obtain an advance on the sale or a guaranteed price: whatever the outcome of the sale, the auction house will complete if the last bid is made at a price lower than this amount.

Art becomes buzz, market stars impose easy scandals

Francis Solet

The craziest financial scandals

Making money and controversy rhyme is an art in which creative businessmen excel.

The British king of provocation, Damien Hirst, organizes the sale of his works himself (140 million euros collected) at Sotheby's, in London, in 2008, bypassing his gallery owners.

The American Jeff Koons, one of the most expensive living artists in the world, glorifies himself by offering his

Bouquet of Tulips

to Parisians in 2019. A sculpture in tribute to the victims of the attacks, estimated at 3 million euros, financed by American and French private sponsorship, in return for tax deductions.

"Art becomes buzz, the stars of the market impose easy scandals like the

Tree sculpture,

by Paul McCarthy, a giant sex-toy erected on Place Vendôme, or the

Queen's Vagina,

by Anish Kapoor, in Versailles, deplores Francis Solet , Doctor of Philosophy, who publishes

The Poor Art of the Rich

(Éd. Le Cherche Midi).

They claim to contest a system which nevertheless offers them, through subsidies and orders, notoriety and fortune.

One can today be financially ultra-dominant and artistically insignificant.

Théophile Gautier said that everything that is useful is ugly, our time answers: “Everything that is expensive is beautiful.”

* "Money in art", from March 30 to September 24, at the Monnaie de Paris, 11, quai de Conti, 75006 Paris.

Source: lefigaro

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