Owning a small share of great art: The Artex investment platform wants to make this possible with art shares.
Owning art is usually reserved for the well-heeled: Only a few are lucky enough to rely on artists when their works were unknown and affordable, and then later benefit from an increase in value.
Everyone else has to dig deep into their pockets if they want to buy paintings by well-known artists, for example. The new art exchange Artex wants to change that and make investments in art accessible to everyone.
55 million dollars for work by Francis Bacon
On May 31, Artex presented the first work with which the art investment platform was launched at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London: It is the triptych “Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer” by Francis Bacon, which he commissioned in 1963 created. Artex values the British artist’s work at $55 million.
Interested parties should now be able to subscribe to shares worth $100 each. In fact, investors buy shares in a stock corporation that owns the triptych. The company has its registered office in Luxembourg. Swiss stock exchange Six is responsible for clearing.
The idea is that everyone wins, but no one wins much.
Artex’s co-founder and managing director is former investment banker Yassir Benjelloun-Touimi. He says that Artex wants to charge fees of between six and seven percent: “We have three parties when we work with the banks: the art sellers, the investors and the intermediaries. The idea is that everyone wins, but no one wins much.”
In 2022, an estimated $67.8 billion in art was sold worldwide. Artex speculates on the increase in value of art. Last year, for example, the price of the works of the hundred most successful artists rose by three percent. During the same period, the share index of the 500 largest listed US companies lost 19 percent in value.
Dirk Boll, board member of the auction house Christie’s, follows the new player on the market with interest: “I think the critical point will be in the secondary trading of these shares. This means that if Artex manages to get enough people enthusiastic about this investment format so that these securities are traded permanently, they have a good chance. But that is exactly the critical point.”
Art attorney is skeptical
Francis Bacon’s triptych is the first work to be offered for sale. Artex wants to come onto the market with more pictures soon.
My big question mark is in fact whether it will be possible to get really top works, as the website promises.
Art lawyer Andreas Ritter, Managing Director of the Swiss Art Market Association, is initially skeptical: «My big question mark is in fact whether it will be possible to get really top works, as the website promises. And of course that’s actually the huge question on today’s art market, how do you get hold of top works.»
Paintings are made available to museums
Yassir Benjelloun-Touimi is convinced that enough works will be collected: “We spend a lot of time convincing collectors who may be at the end of their lives to share their works with the public. We explain to them that the rest of society will benefit – and museums will take up their works.”
Artex wants that too: the works should be accessible to the public in museums. Investors will decide whether this will succeed and whether Artex’s business model will work.