Fine Art and High Finance: Expert Advice on the Economics of Ownership

Fine Art and High Finance: Expert Advice on the Economics of Ownership, a compilation of articles related to art and economics, explores the world of fine and decorative arts from the perspective of an investor. Clare McAndrew, the book’s editor as well as a contributor, is an economist and investment analyst with a history of working in art-related finance. Her introduction outlines her interest in the field and what she sees as its growing relevance: “Over the last decade…art has sparked the interest of the mainstream financial community as an investment class,” McAndrew describes, in part because of the tumult in other financial sectors. She does acknowledge that “there is essentially no such thing as ‘the art market.’” Just “a conglomeration of…independently moving and unique submarkets that are defined by artists and genres and often behave in significantly different ways.”

It can be jarring to hear works of art described in terms of asset diversification—many collectors, clearly, acquire artwork for personal reasons instead of (or in addition to) financial considerations. However, McAndrew’s dispassionate viewpoint allows her to discuss practical topics that should be addressed by any serious collector—risk, estate planning, taxation (one chapter focuses on U.S. tax laws and another mostly on the U.K.), and conservation. McAndrew provides a brief editor’s note at the beginning of each chapter to describe how varied contributions from art handlers, conservators, economists, as well as professionals in art-related law and finance, fit into her field. The other contributing writers give advice based on experiences with the illegal art trade, disasters like Hurricane Katrina that have influenced planning goals and insurance aspects of collection maintenance, and the nuances of restoration, conservation, and preservation. Although its target audience may be investors, Fine Art and High Finance illuminates a different, pragmatic side of art collecting for anyone who owns artwork.

–Elizabeth Lynch

Book Information:
Fine Art and High Finance: Expert Advice on the Economics of Ownership
Edited by Clare McAndrew
Published by Bloomberg Press, New York, NY
288 pages
Hardback $39.95.

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