New Art Funds Diversifying As Market Confidence Increases; Increasing Percentage Of Chinese, Asian Artists

New Fund Follows Growing Number Of Art Funds Investing In Asian Artists Like Ai Weiwei, Subodh Gupta

Wang Jin - "Knocking at the Door" (1995)

Wang Jin - "Knocking at the Door" (1995)

The most recent ArtTactic Chinese Art Market Confidence survey (previously) indicated that buyer confidence had bounced back from its February 2009 low, with an overwhelming majority (70%) of mainland Chinese collectors projecting that the Chinese art market would recover within the next two years. Perhaps taking a cue from these findings — as well as inflation and signs that China will revalue the yuan some time this year — more art funds are incorporating Chinese artists into their investment mix.

Today, Art Market Monitor (via Bloomberg) looks at one of these new art funds — Anthea Art Investments AG — which, unlike some other funds of its sort, will invest in a diverse mix of artists from around the world. From the original Bloomberg article:

After rescheduling plans to start the fund in 2008, Subba is poised to open the Anthea I Contemporary Art Investment Fund to investors in May, seeking to raise 80 million euros ($110.1 million). It will invest in major works by postwar and contemporary artists, including Frank Stella, Jeff Koons and Anish Kapoor.

The fund will invest about 20 million euros a year during the first four years, and use the remaining four years to sell its assets gradually, distributing the proceeds from the sales to the investors. Anthea I will target a compound annual return of between 10 and 15 percent. It will initially charge 2 percent of assets as an annual management fee and 10 percent of investment gains, later rising to 20 percent for new investors.

Christie’s International Plc and Sotheby’s will appraise the fund’s assets every six months and the results will be published in semiannual reports, Subba said.

Anthea I will invest 25 percent in iconic works by major artists such as Andy Warhol; 45 percent in blue-chip pieces by established artists with a potential to grow, such as Cindy Sherman; 10 percent in art from new economies such as China (Ai Weiwei) and India (Subodh Gupta); 2 percent in work by new artists; and 18 percent in arbitrage opportunities. The fund will acquire and sell works of art privately and at auction.

Although Anthea’s main focus will — perhaps inevitably — be Western “blue chip” artists, it’s important to note that the fund is open to a global mix of artists. Though putting only 10% of the fund toward artists from China and other emerging markets sounds a bit sparse, it’s a good start. Jing Daily would say that it’s important for Anthea to make sure to beef up its Chinese works and keep them diverse — buying works by not only Ai Weiwei but also major artists who are widely sought after by mainland Chinese collectors and museums. (Since their value will likely be more insulated from future economic turbulence.)

Though it’s always difficult to project which domestic artists will remain the most popular with art lovers and buyers in China, based on recent auctions it’s likely safe to say that artists like Zeng Fanzhi (previously), Xu Bing, and Yang Fudong will continue to instill confidence in Chinese and non-Chinese collectors alike.

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Art & Auction, Culture