Art comes to the fore as an investment in Russia

The turmoil on world markets, from shares to foreign exchange, raises the question of hedging risks and finding new investment opportunities. Paintings, coins and other kinds of art are an increasingly attractive option.

The turmoil on world markets, from shares to foreign exchange, raises the question of hedging risks and finding new investment opportunities. Paintings, coins and other kinds of art  are an increasingly attractive option.

Real estate is no longer an answer to investing, with prices dropping around the world, and gold is also losing its position. Monet will always be Monet – say the famous auction houses. Christies and Sotheby’s, are stepping up their marketing in Russia, hoping to attract wealthy buyers to their European and North American auctions. Brett Gorvy – Deputy Chairman, Christies says the art market can offer relief in a time of crisis.
 
“People do see art as a tangible asset – Something which they can put their money in, in bad times. After September 2001 the art market also was hit by a lack of confidence, but also a little concern as to where it was going.  It came back almost immediately and became even stronger.”

The art market has seen consistent growth since 1990.  If you can't own a whole painting, you can buy a share in one, saving the cost of insurance and special storage conditions. Marina Sitnina – Vice President, of Gazprombank says the outlook is good for premium quality pieces.
 
“Experts are very positive about the growth in prices for top quality art – above million dollars. Cheaper works will grow but not so much.”

The Russian art market still lacks maturity with a lack of expertise and no big auction houses. And if you bring works of art into the country, you may not be able to take them out again. So if Russian money does flow into art, it is still likely to stay abroad.