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  • Writer's pictureCabinet Gauchet Art Asiatique

Timeless Aesthetics: Our Advice to Collectors During the COVID-19 Health Crisis

Updated: Apr 3

The international art market is currently facing a financial crisis as an immediate result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in several countries. In light of the situation, our chief expert, Jean Gauchet, shares his advice with loyal readers on how to adapt during this period.

The recently published Art Market 2020 report by Art Basel and UBS demonstrates that travel restrictions and the cancellation of events in many countries directly and problematically impact the international art market. Several art fairs have either postponed or canceled their annual events, including Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Paris, and Art Dubai. These international fairs represent over 40% of global art sales. Auction houses have also had to postpone many sales originally planned for the coming months.

Given this situation, how should collectors and investors act? According to Jean Gauchet, the most crucial aspect is to have a clear preference for a specific artistic period or artist, which matters more than the quality of the desired artwork.

In times of instability, activities related to buying or selling artworks become scarcer. Therefore, patience is required to seize the opportune moment to sell the owned artwork. Jean emphasizes the importance of such investments: "The artwork you have acquired may stay in your home for a long time. Ensure, at the time of purchase, that it truly aligns with your tastes. Buy a piece that you will enjoy seeing daily in your environment."

This advice aligns with the approach followed by Gauchet Art Asiatique: assisting collectors in refining their tastes when creating their art collections. The motivations of a collector or investor can vary, ranging from purely profit-oriented goals to a desire to follow a specific artistic period, preserve or enrich a family collection, or make donations to museum institutions, among others. Regardless of their motivations, a collector must be able to understand their tastes and desires.

Considering the current COVID-19 crisis, as was the case during the 2008 financial crisis, Jean Gauchet underscores the importance of investing in quality artworks: "The market may experience a long period of stagnation, but it will certainly bounce back." He notes that "in times like these, the market becomes increasingly selective regarding the quality of presented artworks."

"Twelve years ago, we saw that the market for mid-priced works collapsed and remained very low for a long period. However, the prices of high-quality works remained stable," analyzes Jean Gauchet, predicting that "this is what is happening now."

Even though the Chinese market experienced a significant slowdown after a strong ascent until 2012, leading to a slowdown in the entire international market in the following years, the Art Market 2020 report asserts that prices of high-quality works remain constant, or potentially experience development.

"If you are buying porcelain, consider prioritizing imperial pieces," advises Jean Gauchet. "While they may be more expensive, they equate in terms of stability and financial returns to 30 pieces from the 19th century of significantly lower quality." The expert continues, "This also applies to bronzes, jades, or other antique works."

 So, who are the "Blue Chips," the artists to bet on in the current Asian art market? The Franco-Chinese painter Sanyu (1901-1966) and the Franco-Vietnamese painter Mai Trung Thu (1906-1980) are two examples given by Jean Gauchet.

"Prioritize quality artworks. You can always resell them easily at a good price, regardless of what happens in the art market."

Gauchet Art Asiatique is at your disposal to advise you on art purchases, collection building, and art investment. Feel free to contact us so that we can discuss your project with you.

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