Year after year intelligent investment in art has proved to be a sound investment. Art investment tends to be recession resistant and can outpace inflation. Sometimes profits are spectacular.
A few years ago, Christie’s, NY held an auction of Impressionist and Modern art. In a three-hour frenzy $491.4 million, nearly half a billion dollars, worth of art changed hands. The star of the auction was a portrait by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) which attracted four tenacious telephone bidders. After two dropped out, another entered the fray, and the final cost was $87.9 million, a record at public auction for the artist. A Gauguin fetched $40.3 million, a record for the artist, and other paintings also brought unexpected high prices.
In another private sale, a different collector stunned the world by buying a 1952 Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) painting for roughly $137.5 million. The seller had recently parted with a Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) for $140 million and a Jasper Johns (1930- ) for $80 million. Note that Johns is a contemporary of Chen, which is suggestive.
Chen has done a lot of work making multiple original, limited-edition prints using various processes. An Andy Warhol print recently sold for $17.4 million, an unbelievable sum.
(In May, 1986 New York Magazine featured Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Dr. T.F. Chen’s painting, Sunday Morning Liberty, alongside each other in the same article.) Only Chen’s art price is yet to be in the range of that of his peers. To me, Chen is as great as they are, in fact in some respects, he is even more accomplished.
Besides being an unparalleled fine artist, Chen is also an academic with a Doctorate from the Sorbonne, a humanitarian with a Global Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations, and a prolific writer who has published 22 books on his art and cultural theories. For these reasons, I expect Chen’s prices to increase dramatically over the next few years, especially with the focus on Chen’s ongoing Arts for Humanity World Tour.
Within this art market there is an exceptional opportunity for a collector/investor who has the vision to take a major position in the acquisition of Chen’s paintings.