Art Collectors as Brands

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What is a brand? Oxford Dictionary defines a brand as a particular identity or image regarded as an asset. This means, paraphrased: A brand provides things with value. You could also say that a brand generates value.

A brand is the face that is recognized by the public. While brands are primarily associated with industry, business and advertising, we maintain that the brand principle is equally present with artworks and especially artists.

Back in the days artworks used to belong to the church. Later, royal families started acquiring art. Nowadays it’s often people of public interest, such as the Beckham family, Pharrell or Jay Z, who are looking to buy artworks for their personal collections, enabling a brand effect in both ways (e.g. Jay Z <-> (certain) Picasso).

We can consider the collector of art as a brand, too. The value of an artwork is determined by its perception in the context of a particular buyer’s world. Thus the buyer has a significant effect on how the artwork is perceived and by whom it is seen.

Here are some examples of well-known art collectors:

Jay-Z Collection: 493 million $

Owns artworks by: Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko Example transaction: Pablo Picasso: Sold for 106 million $

Dmitry Rybolovev Collection: over 500 million $

Owns artworks by: Pablo Picasso, Paul Gaugin, Mark Rothko, August Rodin Example transaction: Leonardi da Vinci: Sold for 450 million $

Beckham Family Collection: 44 million $

Owns artworks by: Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Banksy
Example transaction: Damien Hirst, commissioned painting: 780.000 $

Yves St. Laurent Collection: 373 million $

Owns artworks by: Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, Piet Mondrian Example transaction: Collection sold for 373 million $

Batliner Collection: 500 million $

Owns artworks by: Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne
Example transaction: Loan for an indefinite period to the Museum Albertina in Vienna for further increase in value

British Railway Pension Fund Collection: 65,5 million $

Owns artworks by: Pablo Picasso, Paul Degas, Paul Cézanne Collection sold for 373 million $
Example transaction: Paul Degas: Est.: 590.000 $ sold for 2,6 million $

Most recent noticeable case of a transaction occurred in December 2017, when Louvre Abu Dhabi bought Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi for approximately 450 million dollars, which is the highest sum ever paid for an artwork. The scope of this transaction shows the power of a brand, as well as the general willingness to invest into brands.

Categories: Art Market