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Interested in investing in art? Read our interview with Tomáš Hejtmánek.

We met Tomáš Hejtmánek, owner of the Arthouse Hejtmánek gallery and auction house, for the second time. He introduced the topic of investing in art to us at our 2nd anniversary at the Opera House in autumn 2018. Now, right in his exhibition hall, the launch of the new CD that the Bennewitz Quartet has released with our help on the Supraphon label took place.

The realms of art and money often intersect, whether it’s investing in art, collecting, or simply surrounding oneself with beautiful art. We asked Mr. Hejtmánek whether it is actually possible to talk about “investing in art” in the true sense and who his usual customers are.

How did you come to deal in art, antiques and design?

Combining what you do for a living with what you enjoy is probably the ideal activity that can fulfill a person in life. I was so lucky when I combined my original profession as a painter-restorer with the establishment of my family business, gallery and auction house ARTHOUSE HEJTMÁNEK. My passion for collecting art and antiques thus became intertwined with my daily activities.

Investing in art

Is it possible to talk about investing in the true sense in relation to art? Or is it more about collecting and surrounding yourself with beautiful things?

In terms of “mere investment”, art and antiques are just like other investments. You can make more or less money on them in the short or long term, or you can lose money or lose money altogether.

How is investing in art different from investing in conventional financial products or real estate?

Unlike other investments, with art you can find an area that interests, entertains and delights you. And at the same time you can surround yourself with those “beautiful things” that make your life more enjoyable.

How does buying artwork work?

A few weeks before the auction, we organize a “pre-auction exhibition”, where all interested parties have the opportunity to see the artworks and find out all the information about them. Most interested parties contact us in advance and are often interested in buying the works before the opening. After several years on the market, we have become well known and are contacted not only by Czech but also by foreign collectors.

The price of the works depends on the interests that meet at the auction. For example, Mikuláš Medek’s painting from the 1950s entitled Action I (Egg) went to auction with a starting price of 8 million CZK. It was eventually sold for CZK 57 million (including the auction commission).

Who are the people who usually buy from you?

I can divide the clients of our gallery and auction house into several categories depending on what they intend to do with the works they buy. Traders, investors, collectors and collectors at heart. I am pleased to say that in recent years, the number of collectors and heart collectors – those who buy more with their hearts than their minds – has increased significantly and has become more prevalent. Works purchased or auctioned are thus becoming part of important private collections.

Pitfalls and trends

What are the pitfalls of investing in art or buying art, antiques and design in general?

Pitfalls can arise when investing in art, antiques or design, as I have already mentioned. For me as a collector, the main pitfall is the lack of space for new and new acquisitions, which I would prefer to have all displayed.

What are the current trends and fashions in the art market? What is actually selling today? What are people interested in?

You can’t quite talk about trends and fashion waves like you can in fashion. Yet there are areas that dominate the auction and gallery market. In fine art, it’s mainly 20th century painting – from the big names to a few well-known names in contemporary art. I am always very pleased when a work by a lesser known or forgotten artist sells at our auction. The buyer is more interested in the work itself and not just the name.

Tip for investors

What should one do if one decides to invest in art? What would you recommend to interested parties?

I would advise investors to find areas of art and artists they like, go to exhibitions and find good literature or magazines on art and then look at market value and trend charts. It’s also always best to consult with professional gallerists at the beginning who already have experience, can conceive collections of older art or work with contemporary artists.

Photo gallery

Here are a few photos from the event where we celebrated the launch of their new CD with the Bennewitz Quartet. A pre-auction spring exhibition was underway at the ArtHouse Hejtmánek.

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