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ArtDataWeb - Beijing, China 23. 10. 2008

Time to invest in some art

BLUE chip stocks, bonds, fundamentals and all that jazz. What with global money markets ready to collapse like a stack of cards, perhaps it’s time to put your cash elsewhere – say works of art.

At the risk of repeating a cliché, buying a painting is a solid investment. But with prices going into the tens of thousands of euros, can people really afford that kind of money?

But for art expert Nicos Psatharis, auctions are not necessarily a venue of decadence, nor are they out of place in these lean times.

“Some people actually make sacrifices to acquire a painting, recognising that it will gain in value with the passage of time. These are not just rich folks,” Psatharis told the Mail.

He is organising and hosting an auction of paintings by renowned Cypriot and Greek artists that begins today at Nicosia’s Hilton Hotel and will run throughout the week.

The highest-fetching item on public sale is a wood canvas by George Paul Gregoriou, estimated at €35,000 to €45,000.

Others go for much less, but Psatharis says the auction is all about hard-to-find, unique works sought out by collectors.

Almost 99 per cent of the items come from private collections in Cyprus and Greece. Most paintings are more than 10 years old, although a few date as far back as the 1950s, and one was created at the turn of the 20th century.

On the roster are such famous works as Stelios Votsis’ acrylic on canvas, which represented Cyprus at the 9th Biennale in Alexandria in 1972. Or Solomos Frangoulides’ Philadelphia prior 1950, an oil on canvas.

Though the concept of auctions is still in its infancy, the idea is catching on fast. During last year’s auction, the sell rate reached 60 per cent, “a very respectable number,” says Psatharis.

The public sale is based on a low-to-high bidding system, and the sky’s the limit. The auctioneers, who pick up all the costs, get a percentage commission on sales.

“Without exaggeration, owning a quality painting these days is better than having shares. It’s supply and demand, and almost always the value will go up,” offers Psatharis.

 

 

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