Axios Capital: 🖼️ Big art money

In this week’s newsletterA dive into why Masterworks is worth $1 billion; a cheap new DAF platform; South Dakota’s tax-haven status; and much more. All in 1,738 words, a 6.5-minute read.

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One Response to Axios Capital: 🖼️ Big art money

  1. Bruce Grill says:

    I am not at all tempted to buy a share of the great art of any period. I prefer living in a condo than a co-op apartment.

    I think I have a way of simulating the effect of buying shares in high priced art. I’m a retired guy with a great love for the old masters, whom I happily view in museums. There is only one way that I can own the work of some of these masters. Etchings, a revolutionary 16th C art form that had great popularity in other periods. The 17th C dutch & Italian variety as well as 19thC french and 20th C European and American varieties. Unlike other forms of printing this rather primitive Intalglio system could only produce a hundred or so etching impressions made by the hand of the master before the (usually copper) plates had to be reworked by assistants or forgers. The authenticity of what are known as lifetime prints can be determined with at least the same degree of accuracy as on individual paintings.

    In your podcast you discussed the actual love of the art, the bragging rights of the possessor having it on his wall, and the value of the NFT style of investment by Masterworks. I believe possession of etchings by Rembrandt, Whistler, Goya, your beloved Turner as well as German expressionists and other contemporary names gives me as posessor more inherent value than the shares of the great works kept in some Swiss vault.

    Furthermore, the International Fine Print Dealers Association code of ethics maintains a willingness by members to return the purchase price of the impression if it is found to be anything but the promised item.

    The prices of some of these exceptional pieces goes to the hundreds of thousands of dollars but many can be had for far fewer zeros. i do not just mean Rembrandts. For example, there is only one known etching ever created by Van Gogh. There are some 33 known impressions of it in the marketplace. It is a valuable piece done by the hand of the man himself. It was suggested by his doctor as a way to bring in a little income. This method for Rembrandt during the hard times when selling oil paintings to the great and good of Amsterdam created cash flow problems for the spendthrift artist. It probably could have worked to help the troubled Van Gogh, but his mental frailty was too far gone at that point. Only one etching plate, of his doctor, was ever made before his death. I believe the value of an authentic Van Gogh etching of Dr Gachet has probably appreciated positively compared to other metrics AND, it IS a freaking Van Gogh. I hesitate to take the same approach to lithographs or modern prints. They all depend on the hand penned or pencilled signature. Both Dali and Warhol left many signed blank canvases that to me, demean the value and elongate the connection to the hand of the artist.

    I could never hope to own a painting by Turner, Rembrandt, Goya, or Whistler, but I can own an etching which has a known quantity of copies. The value of such etchings is a market far more concrete than all this NFT related nonsense. I’d sooner own a tulip.

    Most important to me, I have a gallery wall full of grand masters that I can appreciate while they appreciate in value.


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