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The Matthew Effect and Artwork Collections

By OGP Reporters / Members Contribute File Photos

Oh Good Party

The extensions of collecting, which have become the new sign of the affluent, are knowledge and sophistication. When money loses its worth, knowledge is the only thing that can be passed down. Contemporary art has become the "it" item for investment due to the growing number and impact of private museums. Reports in the media about well-known artists and the rising value of artworks have also aided in attracting a large number of potential collectors. Superior artworks have a consistent price growth, gaining the collector a reputable reputation as well as additional benefits; this is especially true when modern artworks are viewed as a way to avoid asset degradation.

Throughout history, there has always been a social hierarchy. "For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance," states Chapter 25, Verse 29 of the "Gospel of Matthew." But if you don't have, even what you do have will be taken away from you." The "Matthew Effect," in which the weak become weaker and the mighty become even more powerful, is a classic verse. The higher one's faith, the greater his or her accomplishments.


The Matthew Effect can be found all around us.


According to Thomas Piketty, author of "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," today's return on capital is larger than economic growth, causing wealth to accumulate for the already wealthy. Statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) verified this trend. Both the high- and low-income categories have seen growth in their numbers during the last 30 years. Corporate executives, financial managers, IT engineers, and other high-income categories, on the other hand, have witnessed a quicker pace of rise. This phenomena is analogous to a snowball, in which the larger the initial snowball, the faster it rolls and grows in size.


Coincidentally, the art industry's equilibrium is also beginning to shift. A number of publicly financed museums are falling behind the offerings of private museums. This suggests that private collectors are beginning to develop sufficient clout to compete with museums.


Eli and Edythe Broad (1*), American billionaires and philanthropists, showed their contemporary collection at The Broad in Los Angeles last year, receiving over $200 million in gifts and sponsorships. Furthermore, due to British government austerity, funding for local museums has been reduced to only 1.5 million pounds (about 2.3 million USD) and the budget for collecting collectibles has been reduced to only £ 70,000. Before we look at what these funds may buy, it's worth noting that every purchase was done with the help of the Arts Council England, other similar organisations, and individual donations. Through a project called "Going Public: International Art Collectors in Sheffield," Museums Sheffield is attempting to create awareness and conversation about possible cooperation between galleries in need of funding and private collectors. Sebastian Montabonel, a London-based art advisor, and Mark Doyle, a representative from the Contemporary Art Society, collaborated on this project. Private collectors, according to Montabonel and Doyle, are well aware of their expanding obligations as the value of artworks rises. It is our obligation to protect and promote the arts by increasing public awareness and understanding of the historical, sociological, and artistic significance of these works.


Both museums and collectors will benefit from the relationship. In 2002, for example, Chinese collector Wang Shixiang (2*) was praised for donating 80 pieces of Ming and Qing furniture to the Shanghai Museum for exhibition. Private collectors cooperating with financially suffering public museums have the potential to highlight the value of their treasures while also allowing more people to see and accept these works of art.


Furthermore, given to their financial stability, many private collectors have significant purchasing power. They are the ones who have a say in how the market is priced. Rather than donating to a public facility, many collectors band together to organise a joint fund for a private museum, despite the fact that donations can provide tax benefits. According to statistics, approximately 3500 private museums were founded worldwide between 2006 and 2016, compared to only 25 in the 1990s. Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo began collecting in 1992 and now has over 1000 collectibles in her collection. In the hopes of presenting her collection, she built a private museum in Turin. She feels that private collectors can perform far better than state institutions in terms of art development and public education.


Not only economically, but also in terms of the number of private museums, China may be one of the fastest developing countries. The businessmen following Chen Lihua's (3*) leadership were a group of people who participated in such operations after they were successful. For example, Chen donated 200 million yuan to establish the China Red Sandalwood Museum; husband and wife Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei founded the Long Museum in two different regions in 2012 and 2014, respectively, after purchasing the "Chenghua Chicken Cup" for 2.8124 million Hong Kong dollars; Xu Qiming, founder of China Xulong Food Group, began investing in artworks in 1994 and collected over 200 Chinese palace antiques in 2013; Zhou Hetong, Chairman of HKDTC, founded Zhouyuan Park, China's largest private museum; prominent collector Ma Weidu began collecting Chinese antiques in the 1980s, and by the 1990s, he had amassed over a thousand pieces of ceramics, pottery, furniture, jades, and other items, and had established his first private museum, Guanfu Museum, in 1996; Wang Jianlin, Chairman of the Wangda Group, who bought Picasso's "Claude et Paloma" for 172 million yuan in 2013, also possesses a large art collection, including hundreds of pieces by Fu Baoshi and Qi Baishi, and is currently planning a private museum in Beijing.


The extensions of collecting, which have become the new sign of the affluent, are knowledge and sophistication. When money loses its worth, knowledge is the only thing that can be passed down. Contemporary art has become the "it" item for investment due to the growing number and impact of private museums. Reports in the media about well-known artists and the rising value of artworks have also aided in attracting a large number of potential collectors. Superior artworks have a consistent price growth, gaining the collector a reputable reputation as well as additional benefits; this is especially true when modern artworks are viewed as a way to avoid asset degradation.


It is undeniable that the capitalization of artworks has a significant impact in today's world. Even if riches and success cannot be acquired overnight, now is the time to start.


Notes

1* Eli and Edythe Broad are two famous American entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Eli, as the youngest registered accountant in Michigan, eventually expanded his business to architecture, finances and insurance. One of Broad companies, SunAmerica, entered the New York stock market in 2006; and was sold to the American International Group (AIG) in 1999 at 18 billion USD. In 1965, the Broads donated various artworks to the Los Angeles Museum; and established the Broad Foundation in 1967. Eli was the first Forbes 500 entrepreneurs who founded companies in two different industries, KB Home and SunAmerica. Until October 2015, he was listed at number 65 on the Forbes list. The Broads began collecting artworks in the 1970s. Their first purchase was an artwork by Vincent van Gogh, costing USD $95,000. They then purchased an artwork by Pablo Picasso from 1939, and afterwards an artwork by Henri Matisse from 1923. In the following years, they slowly collected additional works, including over 100 photographs by Cindy Sherman, works by Roy Lichtenstein and artworks by Joan Miro from 1933.


2* Wang Shixiang (1914 - 2009) was born in 1914 to an aristocratic family in Beijing. His father was an envoy for the Beiyang Government Envoy and Secretary General of the State Council. His mother Jin Zhang was an artist known for her paintings of flowers, birds, and fish. His uncle Jin Beilou was a prominent art leader in northern China. Wang finished elementary and middle school in Beijing International School, and graduated from Yenching University in literature. He was the Assistant Researcher at Society for the Study of Chinese Architecture, Assistant Representative of Pingjin Region at Lost Articles in Warfare Times Recovery Association, Curator and Exhibition Leader of the Palace Museum, Researcher at China Music Research Association, and Councilor at National China Antique Research Association. He is currently the a Councilor at National China Antique Evaluation and Appraisal Association, and Researcher at China Historic Literature Research Institution. He is also the author of the famous trilogy about Ming dynasty furnitures. Wang’s collections is extensive in addition to Ming and Qing furnitures.


3* Chen Lihua was born in Beijing in 1941 the Manchu Plain Yellow Banner. She immigrated to Hong Kong in 1982. She received her Honorary Doctorate from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD); and is currently the Dean at SCAD, founder of Fu Wah International Group Co.,Ltd., Councilor at CPPCC, Honourary President of China Manchu Association, and Curator of China Red Sandalwood Museum. Chen’s Fu Wah International Group owns numerous real estate companies in Beijing, including Beijing Chang'an Club Limited Company, Lee Garden, etc.; with investments exceeding 3.5 billion yuan. Chen was selected as one of the top 100 influential figures in Times Magazine in 2012.

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