The art market simply refers to the buying and selling of artwork.
The primary art market has to do with art that’s being sold for the first time: The buyer is the first to own the work, typically purchasing it directly from the artist or the artist’s representative, such as a dealer, gallery, or museum. The purchase price may well be lower than the artwork’s current or eventual market value–if, for example, the artist subsequently establishes a recognized reputation. The works would be resold on the public or secondary market.
The secondary art market comprises all artwork sold to a second or later buyer by a third party, rather than sold by the artist or the artist’s estate. This includes anyone who purchases work from someone who acquired it on either the primary or secondary market, such as from a gallery or an auction house.
The art market groups art into three general investment categories or asset classes. Fine art includes paintings, sculpture, works on paper (drawings, prints–etchings, lithographs, etc.–and works done in watercolor, pastel, charcoal, gouache, or ink), photography, and tapestries. The artwork is usually signed, and its authenticity is well documented. Typically, these works are well known and sought after, continue to appreciate in value, and, depending on the timing, sell relatively easily for a profit. Collectible art includes a wide variety of items that are of interest to those who collect them, such as historical letters or documents, sports cards, posters, and memorabilia. A signature is not always necessary to establish the value of a piece, which, on average, can range from $500 to $5,000. Antiquities are high-end collectibles when they are at least 50 to 100 years old, are in good or excellent condition, and have historic significance or are in some way unique or rare. Decorative art includes furniture, decorations (usually made from glass, wood, stone, metal, or ceramic), couture, jewelry, textiles, and ephemera. Such art is used for functional or ornamental purposes. Normally mass-produced, it tends to be valued at less than $2,000.
The more information that art analysts and experts can amass about a piece of art, the better they can define its value beyond the possible resale price. With this information, as well as the artwork’s provenance, the work’s fair-market value can be tracked and gauged and a determination made as to whether it is exceptional and worth investing in. The older or more valuable the piece, the better it is to have a record of its provenance.
Provenance refers to the ownership history of a work of art or valued artifact. Researching the provenance of a piece–which can prove its historic significance and time period and support the value of work possibly dating back hundreds of years– involves gathering records that document its creation, to whom it has been sold, and where it has been exhibited. Auction records are an important resource in producing a complete list of owners. (Unfortunately, auctioneers are not required to have or keep these records.)
In general, a licensed appraiser or a person qualified to assess the replacement value of artwork for insurance purposes provides an educated estimate of its fair-market value–that is, what the work would be expected to sell for on the secondary market. Normally, the appraiser’s estimate is based on the average of past sales of similar artworks on the primary and secondary art markets.
We engage licensed appraisers, art-market experts, insurance providers, art-market publishers, and our in-house experts to assess the value of each piece of work.
We secure art directly from notable artists or the families that collected the artwork when the artists were still creating their work. We travel the world, working with curators, museums, and fine-art publishers, to find this work.
Many of our artists or artworks have in some way made a recognized contribution to American or international art history, creating a legacy reflecting their era or culture. These works of art have been protected from fraud, incorrect advertising, commercialization, overexposure, and other factors that could affect their value or the artists’ careers. The art is typically available on only the primary market. In the case of the Israeli masters, the artwork has not changed hands more than once, so the integrity of the value and market of the artwork has not been tarnished.
We provide specialized services to help you acquire an art collection that’s based on your needs, desires, and preferences. We maintain close connections with preeminent collections and artists so that we can offer competitive pricing, and we look for art that you will enjoy owning, as well as profit from when you decide to sell it. You work with an Art Wealth Manager, who will help you manage the collection and your art portfolio, advise you on how to increase its value over time, and answer any questions along the way.
Before recommending you invest in a piece of art, we conduct extensive research, due diligence, appraisals, and expert analysis to validate its worth and provenance. With access to records of both private and public art sales, we can determine the average value based on actual sale prices, so that the price you pay won’t preclude making a profit on the work when you sell it.
In times of economic flux, sellers may not find willing buyers right away. Depending on the economic climate and other factors, selling a piece of artwork can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more. It’s our job to know when it’s best to sell–or not sell–so that we can make a profit for you.
By investing with ArtéQuesta, you agree to retain us as the agent for resale. That agreement also binds all our subsidiary agents–our network of collectors, dealers, and museums–who purchase artworks.
As a collector, you buy work in mint condition; you need to keep it in that condition to resell it for a profit. With every purchase, whether painting, sculpture, or photograph, we send you information on how to take care of it. You should also insure your artwork against theft or damage, based on the fine-art evaluation we provide you for that purpose.
If you fear your artwork or a piece of art has been damaged, contact the Art Wealth Manager of your art portfolio right away. She or he will arrange to assess the potential damage and, if necessary, will contact our fine-art restorers for immediate assistance. If the artwork has sustained enough damage that it is no longer investment-grade, it may no longer qualify for your art portfolio, and we may recommend selling it, when you do, as decorative art. Of course, we will get the best price for you that we can. If it is more seriously and permanently damaged, ArtéQuesta may be unable to resell the work at all, and we will work with your insurer to help you recover your loss.
When you sell artwork through an auction house, you are subject to a 20% to 30% fee, plus 12% above the premium–that is, a resale price that exceeds the estimated value or is greater than $1 million. In addition, you will pay a 28% capital-gains tax. Moreover, if the auction house lists the artwork but it does not sell, that could tarnish its reputation. When you purchase and resell artwork through ArtéQuesta, you pay a 20% resale fee based on an agreed-upon sale price. In addition, we are qualified to offer an Internal Revenue Service Code A 1031 tax-deferred exchange, whereby you can reinvest your profit on the sale into new artworks and thus avoid the capital-gains tax otherwise due.
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We believe that, through imagination, talent, and skill, fine art brings something new into the world, something that enriches our lives. Art reflects its period of history and enlarges our understanding of earlier civilizations and eras. It deepens our humanity. It can touch us in ineffable ways. Collectors help preserve these invaluable human assets. We see the world and the people in it as fine art, too. We donate a percentage of all art sales and commissions to selected organizations that support the arts and the environment and advance humanity at the individual, community, or global level.
We welcome your interest. If you have more questions, please call us at 415.952.3899 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.