The Art Advisor
Art advisor and collector Nicolai Frahm discovered his enthusiasm for art collecting as a young boy browsing through his father’s auction house catalogues. Later he hit London right when the Young British Artists won the scene, and today the 34-year-old Dane is regarded among the top ten art advisors in the world, with a high profile clientele counting Frank Cohen and Charles Saatchi. He spends a lot of time scanning through “a bloody ludicrous amount” of art newsletters and books, traveling to the most important art fairs and biennales and talking to gallerists and artists. Frahm regards the situation like this: “The art market has just gone through a long period of unprecedented high prices and now it will go through a period where we will see severe price adjustments and a re-appraisal of quality. In an up market great works become available at high prices, but in a down market collectors tend to hold on to the great works. In a down market there are opportunities to buy works at low prices, but rarely the masterpieces you really want for an important collection,” says Frahm, who also believes that it’s the scene’s youngest contributors who are facing the hardest time.
“In a down-dwindling cycle, it is always the hyped works by emerging rising stars or the second- and third-rate works by blue chip artists that suffer first. Collectors go back to buying ‘safe’ artworks.” Having the market so close at hand, he wasn’t surprised by the financial meltdown. He meets economic malady with surprising cheer and predicts only positive consequences from the crisis. “I love the crisis! Now it is fun to buy! I’m sure we’ll have a bit more time to reflect on what we take in and want to enjoy at home or at our museums. Quality can be scrutinized again. A crisis like this makes everything run a bit slower and gives us more time to decide what is a good acquisition for a collection and what may be superfluous. It will be a good time for buyers.”
Will art still be in fashion?
“I hope not. It should never be fashionable. Fashion should be fashionable. Fashion always passes too quickly. Art should outlast all trends and take the connoisseur onto an interesting and stimulating journey. That’s what made great art great, it lasted longer than anything else.”