The international art market is booming, auction records are tumbling and contemporary artists have become superstars in their own lifetime. Art has become the billionaire’s must-have new toy. The rise of the international art market is in direct proportion to the rise of luxury markets and the new economies of BRICS countries such as China and Russia.
As the art market has become globalized, the fact that it is an unregulated market becomes increasingly problematic in the context of authenticity and provenance. Time was when auction houses knew most of their clients but these days the profile of auction buyers is increasingly fragmented, diverse and global. Questions such as how can the seller of a valuable work of art be trusted are suddenly just as pertinent as the issue of provenance and the authenticity of a work of art.
Due diligence in global art transactions within the opaque marketplace of the art world has come of age and is proving to be a required necessity these days. Buying art has become a much more complex process and less well-known buyers are now emerging from countries that didn’t used to participate in the market. Specialist art lawyers are rare, and the skills needed to undertake Art Diligence require not only a knowledge of the art market, but a knowledge of the Due Diligence process for major business transactions.
Art Diligence serves individuals who can become stuck in the mire of a complex art deal by drawing on a combined network of specialists from the fields of non-financial Due Diligence, able to conduct background checks on individuals and assess the market conditions of a particular country, as well as from the international art market who understand the issues of provenance and authenticity. “The art world feels like the private equity market of the 80s and the hedge funds of the 90s” commented one New York collector and financier, “It’s got practically no oversight or regulation”.
Art Diligence works with art consultants, art lawyers, the Art Loss Register, artist foundations, and art specialists at the major auction houses of Sotheby’s, Christies and Bonhams as well as the major dealers and museums in London and Europe.