Jean-David Cahn AG, expert in Ancient Art
Jean-David Cahn AG is based in Basel, with large exhibition spaces at Malzgasse 23 which can be viewed by appointment. The gallery at Via Maistra 11, i...
Jean-David Cahn AG is based in Basel, with large exhibition spaces at Malzgasse 23 which can be viewed by appointment. The gallery at Via Maistra 11, in the centre of St. Moritz, was inaugurated in 2006 and is open for the winter and summer seasons. Jean-David Cahn is expert in Classical Archaeology. He answers to the ARTFINDING's exclusive interview about his specialty and vision of the global art market.
The Artfinding Poll Center reveals a relatively slow evolution in prices for the Egyptian, Greek & Roman antiquities between 2007 and 2008, while in the meantime the contemporary art prices have experienced a very huge rise. Same for the 2009 financial crisis, the decrease of classic antiquities suffered of a much less important decrease than the contemporary art field. Simple reason: Ancient art is very less subject to speculation.
The reason why the antiquities market isn't speculative is because its buyers are usually well educated. They have "a logical thought of buying the piece for its artistic and historical values", says Jean-David Cahn. They buy the object because they love it, so they will cherish it. In their opinion, when they possess it, it is as if they possess a piece of history. Furthermore, the field of Greek, Roman and Egyptian art has been very conservative in the price developments in the last decade since its "the oldest collection field since the Renaissance, and so took the test of time through all the cultures".
Provenance of the piece is very important especially in archeology. Let's do a quick reminder of what is a provenance in Art: a provenance is the place the piece or masterpiece is coming from or the person it was belonging to in the past. The more the person was popular or known as a great collector, the more the pieces rise in value, therefore in price. For example if a piece has belonged to Napoleon 1er, you can sell it several times more that a piece from an unknown provenance. Most of the time, the provenance can guarantee the quality and authenticity of a piece. Its can therefore prevent from frauds.
The market of Greek, Roman and Egyptian ancient art is mostly in wealthy countries. China and ironically Italy, Greece and Egypt are not major centers of ancient art trading. China because it is not historically related and for the time being, Chinese collectors are focused on their own civilization. The three others because of strict restrictive laws who keep the dealers to export all the "National Treasures". Easy to import, difficult to export: very bad for the business. "I believe the market needs both a strict control, but also make sure for the collectors to feel free to buy and to sell art", says Jean-David Cahn.