Pierre Naquin, a French entrepreneur is to create a fund offering shares in 20th – 21st century master works. Collectors, who cannot afford to hang a work by an important artist on their wall, will be able to buy shares in an art work. The first art stock exchange prepares to open in the French capital sometime in January. The Guardian states; “Paris-based A&F Markets has created a company to allow investors to buy and sell shares in art works as they would any other commodity, with prices quoted on a public index. The shares will start at €10 for works valued at more than €100,000 (£85,880). The scheme will include painting, sculpture, video installation and photography”. The first pieces for sale will include a 2006 installation by the German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer, who is based in the south of France. Also on offer is Irregular Form, a 1998 oil painting on paper by the late American artist Sol LeWitt. Those pieces are owned by galleries but pieces by independent artists will also be offered. The company’s founders are initially working with about six Paris galleries but are seeking to expand in the UK, China and across Europe. They hope to attract financiers and investors who might previously have been wary of the art world’s volatile and sometimes confusing prices. The scheme is also hoping to attract investors tempted by French tax breaks on art. Photo: Anselm Kiefer.
A&F emphasizes that art is “both a safe and a speculative” investment: safe over the long-term because its value is intrinsic and independent of volatile economic conditions, and speculative in the short-term because auction markets have seen soaring profits. French investors can also benefit from tax laws that exclude artworks from income calculations for the wealth tax. The prospectus also intones that “the pleasure that the discovery and study of art can provide is real and should not be overlooked.” However, since Art Exchange handles “all logistics and costs relating to the management of the works,” investors aren’t going to really have contact with the works in which they own shares. This rules out any aesthtic value or connection to investing in art in this manner.