Ask Roxane: "What Should I Know Before Investing In Art?"

BY Roxane Zand / Sep 24 2018 / 14:04 PM

Iranian-born Roxane Zand, deputy chairman of the Middle East at Sotheby's, shares her wealth of life experience and boundless knowledge of the art world

Ask Roxane: "What Should I Know Before Investing In Art?"

I want to invest in art but know very little about it. What questions should I start with?

So you’ve gone to a gallery preview and seen a work of art that has caught your eye. Your heart wants it but your head screams to a halt when you ask the price. Almost every first-time buyer feels good art is far too expensive. Art pricing is a complex process which is based on the track record of the artist – prices at previous shows, his/her dealer and auction prices, his institutional buyers, his publications, museum shows, reputational success and so on.

Ovoid Form with Disc (1960s), Dhs56,170-Dhs66,170; Cylindrical Vase with Disc (1960s), Dhs32,760-Dhs46,800, Hans Coper

If you don’t want to sound the ingénue when thinking about buying, the first rule is to do a little homework of your own. Read about the artist, look him/her up online (no excuse for total ignorance in the digital age!) and see whether he/she is investible. When talking to the dealer, ask about the artist’s other work.

A piece of art has a place and relevance in the context of the rest of his work. Do you like the other series? Is the work you’ve seen a good one from that particular series? Find out about the artist as a person. Does his life story and what he says about his practice resonate with you? If you remember that a work of art is something you could potentially live with for the rest of your life (and even hand down to your offspring), the cost in fact will appear much less prohibitive. While the investment value of what you buy is relevant, avoid speculation. The long term view will help put the pricing into perspective, and while I’ve given you more than three questions to ask, the real one to ask is of yourself: “Do I love it?”

Painting, Dhs702,028-Dhs936,037, Damien Hirst

I travel for business, so how do I look polished yet comfortable when travelling with my colleagues?

The days of glamorous travel belong to a bygone era. Frequent travellers dress down, choose comfort over style and mostly think of the journey as a trial not a pleasure. But it’s not all bad news. There are ways to look and feel good at the same time. Of prime importance is dressing in layers. Dry cabin air, which can fluctuate between arctic (at take-off) and arid (at downtime on long-haul), means that you should cover up or shed accordingly. Light, wrinkle-resistant, natural-mix fabrics work miracles: silk-and-cashmere twin-sets are both elegant and comfortable (check out Mantegna or Tse), matched with a pair of fitted trousers with plenty of stretch. When flying, heels are very yesterday; any number of brands from Prada to DKNY do fabulous flats.

Shoes, Dhs3,200, Prada

Keep jewellery to a minimum and concentrate on your skin, which needs moisturising and hydration (sip water the whole trip.). Lips need Dr Hauschka Lip Care Stick, hands need Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, face needs Shiffa Healing Balm and a small Evian spray. Anti-bacterial wipes will ward off germs – a small measure that will ensure arrival in good shape and ready for action.

Eight Hour Cream, Dhs158, Elizabeth Arden / Shiffa Healing Balm, Dhs418 on Sephora

Easily foldable outer layers make seasonal transitions much easier – stuff into your hand carry. The truly stylish woman, however, knows that a carefully-chosen handbag is her real asset: a beautiful Hermès tote, a light but capacious Loewe, or, for the budget-conscious, the trendy Graf & Lantz all exude style yet give you lots of storage for travel essentials and the secret tools of the seasoned working woman.

Bag, Dhs160,000, Hermès / Hammock Bag, Dhs9,000, Loewe on Moda Operandi​

From the September 2018 Issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia