HOW MUCH IS A PAINTING HANDED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION WORTH? AN IMPULSE PURCHASE AT AN INTERNATIONAL AUCTION OR ANTIQUE MARKET? THESE ARE QUESTIONS THAT WE OFTEN ASK OURSELVES, BUT FOR REASONS OF LAZINESS OR BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW WHERE TO TURN, WE LEAVE THEM UNANSWERED.
And it is precisely to inform and serve its customers that Wetag Consulting, in recent weeks, has organised an exclusive event in collaboration with the Christie's auction house at Masi in Lugano. An opportunity to welcome art lovers and critics specialized in evaluating unique pieces from different periods, professionals from the renowned Christie's auction house, whose records include the Man with a Pointed Finger by Alberto Giacometti from Graubünden, sold in New York in 2015 for 140 million dollars.
An unusual event, but was there really a need to make your clients aware of the valuation and market for art objects?
"Absolutely, also because our clients very often make purchases in the art world in addition to real estate investments. You have to imagine that many of our properties for sale are decorated and furnished, and therefore we also have to follow up sales negotiations related to important and very expensive pieces of art".
But can you do this directly as Wetag?
"No. In these cases, professionals from the sector have to be involved and as far as we are concerned, given our ten-year relationship with Christie's, we call them. Generally speaking, we receive a reply within a few days, also because, depending on the objects to be valued, we mainly use the offices in Zurich, Geneva, Milan and London".
Why the event at the Masi in Lugano?
"You mentioned the auction of the century in New York, during which Alberto Giacometti's "The Man with the Pointing Finger" was sold for a record price of 140 million dollars. This historic auction was organised by Christie's. The fact of having Giacometti's son, Giovanni, accompanied by some of the most important Swiss painters of the last 200 years, I am talking about Segantini, Brunner and Hodler with their magnificent and enormous, excuse the unartistic term, paintings, was also an opportunity to recall our close link with art and with Christie's auction house, with which we have just renewed our 15-year partnership with a new multi-year contract.
And did your customers appreciate the combination?
"I think so. I'll give you a concrete example: one of our clients showed a picture of an amphora to an expert in ancient art at Christie's in the London office and shortly afterwards they were able to work out the period it was from and its approximate value. Of course, they will have to meet for an official valuation and above all because art objects have to be authenticated in person'.
We talk about the importance of having art objects certified and evaluated by internationally renowned professionals, also because there are many people who "pass themselves off" as critics...
"This is another issue that we often discuss with our clients. Having a piece of art appraised and authenticated by a company such as Christie's protects us from scams linked above all to the purchase, but also to the sale".
What if someone wants to have their collection or simply a piece of art appraised?
"The procedure is simple: just call us and tell us what kind of expert you want to talk to. Then, by first sending us photographs and a brief data sheet (e.g. measurements, estimated age, provenance), Christie's will discreetly make an appointment with the client, come to the site and value the object in question. I would also like to add that this is not a service we offer only to those who wish to sell, but also to those who wish to buy and need a professional opinion and price assessment. Another very important thing is that the world of valuables collecting is very wide. Christie's is active, to make my point, in eighty different fields, think of the car market or wine collections. In the past, as Wetag, we helped sell a collection of Bordeaux wines worth hundreds of thousands of francs".
One last question, a curiosity, what do you think of Ticino's artistic offerings?
"The Masi, as well as the entire LAC, which I see every day since our Lugano offices are just a few steps away from Piazza Bernardino Luini, is an incredible added value, even for foreigners who want to move their residence to Ticino. In addition, as we can see by leafing through your magazine, Lugano is home to very important galleries that have nothing to envy from Milan, London and New York, not to mention that some of Lugano's galleries are also based in these other important cities. And then there are the Ticinese artists who keep the picturesque soul of Lugano alive and in constant evolution. In short, I would say that, artistically speaking, Lugano lacks nothing, and the city has great potential for evolution.
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