Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chinese Art During America's Roaring 1920s

 xWhat do you think about when you picture life in the 1920s of America? Many people tend to recall old pictures of extravagant parties with people in outdated, funny clothes. Some times people living today think about the infamous crash of 1929 which followed financial indulgence for much of the decade. It is true that most people living today simply cannot remember the 1920s at all. Very few of us were actually alive during this time period. One little known additional fact about the "Roaring 20s" was that it was the decade where Chinese artwork became a permanent part of the national American life.

The sale and display of Chinese art rose quickly during this time period. It held future implications for the importation of Eastern culture in to North America. The vast majority of people living then never foresaw the larger, cultural reality unfolding in their day. Sadly, Charles L. Freer passed away in 1919. However, the man whose name authenticated the Freer Gallery of Art lived on in spirit. Four years later this leading American institution in the collecting, study, and display of Chinese artwork was open to the public. At the time the gallery was directed by John F. Lodge (1878-1942). It was through this man C.T. Loo, the famous Chinese art dealer and businessman, returned to the shores of America. In fact, Loo became the gallery's top supplier between the years 1921 to 1951. Loo was followed only by two other firms. In the next three decades, the gallery spent $860,340 on 124 pieces which Loo supplied. These purchases would constitute the core of the gallery's ancient Chinese bronze, jade, and stone sculpture holdings.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fine Art and Nature - Developing Your Artist Eye

Cape Conran is in the far North East corner of Victoria, Australia. This place is remarkable for its remoteness (no mobile phone coverage there- great for some people, frustrating for others, particularly teenagers. I found it great and liberating to be away from all the electronic "stuff"). Remarkable also for its rugged natural beauty; coastal flowering trees, gums and tea trees, miles of pristine, untouched ocean beaches, quiet lagoons and unusual rocks jutting vertically out of the sand; some dark, fossilised wood, others: pink, sensuous, monolithic boulders.

What was surprising, and insightful in a creative way, about the seascape, was how much it reminded me of my painting process; there were the large areas of colour and tones of the sea, sand and sky, swept in as in large pastel strokes. The dark tones and highlights in the waves had subtle changes of colour from aqua to ultramarine and deep violet. The sand provided a pleasing, warm, golden complementary to the seas cool blues. And then, the shoreline strewn with millions of pebbles that, at first glance looked the same size, shape and somewhat similar colours, but, on close inspection, were all different.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Fine Art of Obamacare Obfuscation

Even though it's the best on the planet, an excellent case can be made for the existence of weaknesses in America's health care system. When everyone from potentates to average Joes still travel to the U.S. for state of the art treatment, we must be doing something very right, which is not to say the system is flawless.

It's expensive, overloaded with paperwork and fraught with serious issues but few sick people go out of their way to go to places such as Great Britain to seek treatment in that country's bankrupt, socialistic National Health Service, the Obamacare model.

It was those issues, a cooperative press, and majorities in both houses of congress that enabled Democrats to ramrod a basically dishonest, 2309 page monstrosity which no legislators read and which the majority of Americans opposed through to law.

The fact that federal employees, including those same congresspersons who voted in favor of it, kept their existing and generous medical plan, their Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and were exempted from Obamacare is perhaps the most telling factor indicative of how farcical the "Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act" truly is. The PPAHCA was deemed good enough for the rabble, the hoi polloi, but the very people who brought us Obamacare wanted no part of it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Fine Art

One couple recently introduced their three-year-old daughter to the 'fine art' of dishwashing. She so enjoyed her time at the sink. It was regarded as quality playtime.

On sharing this news with other parents, some were shocked at a three-year-old washing dishes - and appearing to enjoy it. Apparently, other pre-schoolers had wanted to help in their kitchens but were dissuaded by their parents.

"How strange," commented the couple, "and then when the children become teenagers and no longer desire to clean plates, parents insist that they do!"

Of course, the issue is not simply about washing dishes. Rather, it has to do with loving, honouring and obeying God. As children love, honour and obey their parents, they are showing respect for God, and as they do that they can discover meaning and purpose in their lives.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to Invest in Fine Art and a Build Collection or Portfolio

At a time when we are in or some may say coming out of a nasty recession. Interest rates are at rock bottom. The Bank of England Base Rate at 0.5% and the interest rates are roughly the same all around the world. Getting a return on your money is not easy; however you can still Invest your money in some areas and get a good return. One of these is art, it is a vast area and there is something for everyone's taste and you will not find many investments that you can hang on your wall enjoy and improve the look of a room. If selling your home it has been found that people are influenced by the removable goods, so art on your walls can even help raise the sale price of your home or make it sell faster. So Investing in art offers much more than a return on your investment it can benefit many areas of your life

Most people think that to invest in art you need a large amount of capital but that is not the case. You will find out how you can start an art collection with a small sum of money. Whether you are looking to invest a small amount of one to two hundred pounds or thousands there are a few simple rules to follow. That is what we will talk about in this article so that you can start to build your own portfolio of art, investing in your future.

The Art Markets

According to the Art Market Research (AMR) the price of old masters achieved a peek in 1990 and has now passed this high after a strong rise in the previous year. The index for modern paintings is 15% off its peak, contemporary and 19th century is 50% below its peak. The impressionist market is much more volatile and is nearly 70% off the highs seen in the 1990's. You should bear in mind impressionist prices are higher than other styles in the same periods.

A Study in 1952 by Mei and Moses led to an amazing discovery, "The more you pay, the lower your return." This was shown more with purchases over £29,000. Purchases over £ 1,160,000 actually show a negative return on your investment. For most people wanting to start an art collection for investment it is advisable to look at emerging art markets. This as an exciting market which offers the opportunity of the larger returns on your investment

How to buy art.

The death of an artist does not guarantee an increase in value.

It is a common belief that after the death of an artist the value of the work will increase. This is not necessarily true even for established artists who commended high prices during their lifetime. An example of this is Andy Warhol, he produced iconic art which he then began to copy himself. After his death his heirs released piece after piece to the market. This led to a devaluation of his work over the coming decades. The other side of the coin is artists who were never really had their work recognised, after their death the art does not increase in value.

The answer to this is to do your research about an artist. Has their work been recognised by any institutions, won competitions and what reviews have been written by other people. Research does not guarantee a good purchase but it can help reduce the risk. Access to the internet makes research much easier in today's day and age.

Prints or Originals

Some people say stick to buying originals and that is sometimes the best option. But as we so often hear there is an exception to every rule. If you purchase a print which is not a limited edition you are definitely throwing money away. All you are doing is buying an expensive poster. This can be seen in many places where you can purchase a print of most masterpieces. They are usually mass produced, unsigned and printed on cheap paper. If you come across an artist whose work is increasing in value, you have researched them and the artist looks like they are worth investing in. It may be you cannot afford an original painting by the artist, so you look at prints.

First you need to look at the quality of the prints, most artist use Giclee prints which are high quality and on a high grade of paper. If you see a limited edition print on shiny poster paper, stay well away and save your money.

The next important thing to check is the edition size. The lower the run size the better the investment. Some artists do runs up to a thousand per edition, this is a sign that the value of that print will be low and is highly unlikely to increase in value. A limited edition of one hundred will mean each print is more likely to hold their value.

Validated Prints, this is an obvious point but is something that should be checked. All limited edition prints should be numbered and signed by the artist. The number should say what the print number is and how many copies are going to be printed in the limited edition print run e.g. 1/100. When you look for art work you may see an up and coming artist who has just released a limited edition print, it is sometimes worth purchasing limited edition prints in this situation because you can see returns of 50-100%

Buy What You Like.

Like most investments there are no guarantees, the value may go up, it may also go down. However unlike other investments you should always gain some enjoyment out of your investment. So the first and foremost decision to be made when considering buying any painting is, do you like it? If you like it is highly likely that other people will like it. If your investment is going on the wall you are going to be looking it so you should make sure you are going to get some pleasure from it, there would be nothing worse than having a painting that you cannot stand the site of. This might seem an obvious point but it is an important one that should not be overlooked. I sell art and when I look at an artist's work with the view of selling it I will only accept art to promote that I like, for me it is such an important guideline when you look at any piece of art.