I went to the Cleantech Venture Day conference yesterday in Stockholm, Sweden. In general, there was some interesting stuff, but the best conversation I had was with a venture capital/private equity investor. I asked the guy if he invests in art. A large grin formed on his face, as he nodded. Apparently, this was a subject close to his heart. So, I asked for a bit more detail, and the gump was more than willing to talk.
Regular art investing isn’t good enough for this Swede, it seems. His portfolio crazes something bigger, something better … something fake? “I don’t invest in paintings,” he explains. “I prefer etchings,” and he went on to walk me through the concept of numbered, limited edition giclees (i.e. reproductions). He was extremely proud of his investment positions in these pieces. The man was actually beaming! I was floored.
The man claims to be a serious investor, and his plan for art assets is to invest in purposeful fakes?! Don’t get me wrong; I don concede that there is a thriving market for giclees. There are many limited edition etchings that are coveted and command substantial sums of money. I get it. But, for a real player, this is hardly art investing. Giclees offer poor folks like me a chance to bring the aesthetic into our homes at an affordable price and still participate in the exclusivity, at least to a limited extent.
I guess I’m just not a “sophisticated” investor.