Russian report: Russians choose to buy international art

Date: 21 Mar 2012


“Russian collectors entered the international art market in the mid 2000s, with a bang,” Says Quintessentially Art MD, Gary Krimershmoys, “Because they didn’t trust art dealers, they gravitated toward the auction houses to make their purchases. They liked the excitement of bidding against others and appreciated the due diligence they saw the auction houses performing. The oligarch’s buying was fueled by commodity wealth and a willingness to spend it on glamorous, recognizable brand-name artists.”

“On average, they bought international artists, from Impressionists to the contemporary art world stars. For Russian artists, they would go for pre Bolshevik Revolution artists or artists that spent time in Western Europe like Natalia Goncharova and Ivan Aivasovsky.”
“The oligarchs were not buying contemporary Russian art, instead preferring to focus on international celebrity artists like Damien Hirst and Anthony Gormley. This made it very hard for Russian contemporary artists to make a living, as their country men didn’t actively collect them. The biggest postwar Russian artists that were collected by the oligarchs were Ilya Kabakov, Komar & Melamid, and Eric Bulatov, all of whom found international recognition, therefore gaining Russian collectors respect.”

“To differentiate Russian collectors from the other collectors from the BRIC countries, there is divergence in allocating cash, especially for contemporary artists. Brazilian, Indian and Chinese Ultra Wealthy collectors spend 80-90% on their own country’s contemporary artists and the rest on international artists. For Russian mega-collectors it is the opposite, where they spend 80-90% of their money on international artists and the balance on Russian artists.” / 0845 475 0195

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