Top Art Advisers Reveal Their Tips for Collecting in Uncertain Times

13Mar09
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The roundtable: "Art+Auction" Editor in Chief Anthony Barzilay Freund; advisers Abigail Asher, Allan Schwartzman, Stefano Basilico, and Mary Hoeveler; "Art+Auction" Staff Writer Sarah Douglas

By Emily Waldorf

Have you put your collecting on hold, paralyzed by fear of investing in this uncertain economy?  It might be time for you to start dipping your feet back into the art market; there are actually a lot of buying opportunities popping up now that didn’t exist in the last five years.  Even though the tables have been turned and it is a buyer’s market, it’s always best to proceed with caution and do your homework before picking up the pace of your collecting.  

Why not start with the advice of the best art advisers in the business?  Art + Auction Editor-in-Chief, Anthony Barzilay Freund, and staff writer Sarah Douglas, interviewed four top art advisers in the article “Art Advisers Roundtable,” gleaning some gems of reassurance and advice for collecting during turbulent economic times.  

The resounding theme of the roundtable was to take advantage of the current buyer’s market, buy what you love and what moves you spiritually, and pay close attention to quality, hiring an art adviser if necessary to conduct due diligence and provide access to the market.

Here is the key advice:

There are opportunities in virtually every collecting field right now.  If you want to play it safe, concentrate on established secondary-market artists, negotiate well, and take a long-term view”

           – Mary Hoeveler

Careful and selective buying of 20th and 21st century masterpieces is what I would focus on.  That’s the area people felt priced out of in the past few years.  This is actually an exciting time.”

             – Abigail Asher

Collectors should be selective and careful in their choices.  Condition becomes paramount, especially if it’s an editioned work.  Look at each piece with a jaundiced eye.  It’s not worth the risk.”

              -Stefano Basilico

Look for undervalued areas in every price range.  These are times when people crave art of profound beauty or meaning.  The art that means the most holds it value – spiritually and financially”

              – Allan Schwartzman

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