Despite protestations from the art world, it has always been possible to equate value with works of art but amongst corporate investors there is no doubt that art has become a more stable long term investment than some stocks and shares.
This has lead to many Western art consultants and art historians being frequently asked to suggest appropriate investments for their corporate clients, particularly far eastern clients who have a growing appreciation for Japanese and Chinese collectibles.
This it is very common to visit a corporate headquarters in Japan and see some very expensive and exclusive art work displayed in glass cases in the foyer of the building, these not only being decorative, but also being part of the investments of that company. Mind you, some corporate art purchases, are so valuable that they lives permanently in water and fireproof safes!!
It is a mark of the times that this kind of conspicuous art ownership is migrating to the west, with many city of London offices being decorated with corporate owned artwork worth many hundreds of thousands of pounds. Top executives get to enjoy these investments as office wall art and say it helps them to take pleasure in their time at work.
The corporate artwork boom is also extending to, and benefiting vibrant, young artists who catch the eagle eye of corporate art consultants. Their work, often picked up for very little money at art college exhibitions, is seen as a potential investment for the future.
This kind of purchase makes the corporate art market a hugely attractive target for up and coming artists; especially as some large corporate purchasers are said to be holding a huge body of art work from virtual unknowns against the day they become famous in the art world.
A recent news story told how a young and virtually unknown artist held a very successful show in a London gallery and, having sold all her work, was swamped with corporate commissions that guaranteed her income for the next six years. What wasn’t mentioned was whether she accepted them.
Corporate art buyers are now seen as an important part of the financial machine that keeps the art world running. Corporate art consultants are making a huge killing since the Icelandic banking disaster that made offshore investment banks less attractive. Purchases of office art are soaring and everyone seems happy to be a winner.
One delighted student artist was heard to say “I never thought I’d leave art college with money in the bank” and corporate art consultants say this is just the tip of the iceberg. As banks are perceived as less reliable, more corporate investors will put their trust, and their money, into works of art.