Individual and corporate fine arts and antiques buyers across the Gulf are now coming to believe that their love of collecting may be as financially rewarding as it is aesthetically satisfying, says one international dealer taking part in Art Antiques Design Dubai from the 18th-22nd February at the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah.
International art fair organiser and dealer, Brian Haughton, observes that the global financial turmoil has impacted the price of art and antiques across several major categories as increasing number of buyers look for non-traditional assets to invest in.
Haughton said: ?Undoubtedly, we are seeing a widespread interest in purchasing top quality antiques and art as valuable investments. However, acknowledged art connoisseurs still advocate the practice of buying art for love rather than solely for investment purposes as the best approach for any art buyer.?
Art experts concur that works of art of outstanding quality, condition and rarity will always hold their value. Categories that are considered to yield substantial financial gains include Old Master or Impressionist paintings, 18th century furniture, and the finest 18th and 19th century porcelains among others. Prices at the top end of these categories can easily run into millions of dollars.
?The emergence of high end interior design and specialised educational courses in the art and antiques sphere has inspired new buyers to enter the art market while collectors who have concentrated on one particular area suddenly choose to expand into new categories,? observed Haughton.
In category of Islamic Art, exhibits are highly sought after and often very expensive given the scarcity of top quality pieces available in this category.
Financial analysts believe that the involvement of fewer regulations in the art world, compared to investment in securities and real estate, is prompting more investors to build up asset portfolios of fine art and antiques.
With many new investors not having the capital to afford a Claude Monet piece, other avenues of investing in art include photographs, antiques, prints, lithographs and maps.
?It is imperative that buyers new to the art world follow key guidelines when they begin building their art portfolios,? said Brian Haughton.
The market for fine art and antiques has matured across many continents, with galleries, collectors, and artists often referring to an ?art price? index to gauge the monetary value of individual artworks.
High-end collectibles have frequently been categorised by the strength of the artist?s name and the growing value of the artwork over a substantial period of time.
Famous artist names such as Picasso and Rembrandt are often bought by individual billionaires, major art galleries and museums or multi national corporations given that the value of the pieces exceeds millions of US dollars.
Exhibiting categories at the fair include top quality Arab and Islamic Art, Orientalist paintings and Contemporary Art, world class antiques including 18th century furniture and 17th century jewellery, rare silver works, bronze and metal sculptures among several other styles of art.'

Ketaki Banga

Ten years of content creation, strategising and managing the big picture. I write across various subjects and media including print, online, documentaries, television, advertising and marketing-communication. Currently, as the editor of SME Advisor Middle East – a magazine for small and medium enterprises – I handle print, online initiatives, magazine events and business development. Prior to this, I worked with ZK McCann Tanzania, handling brand strategy and campaigns in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi for clients such as Celtel (telecom), CRDB (bank), TANESCO (electricity), TTCL (telecom), PSI (Population Services International—an NGO), TCC (Tanzania Cigarette Company), TBL (Tanzania Breweries Limited), Mwananchi and The Citizen newspapers, Coke, Gapco (petrol), Hitachi, and more. In India, besides working with various publications, I was also a lead content developer with Tata Interactive Systems, an e-learning company that caters to top international clients. My job involved understanding instructional design fundamentals to design and develop educational and training content ranging across K-12, university, corporate and government lines of businesses.