Paris, 11 August 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA).
Artfinding, the online company specialising in the art market, has launched Artfinding.biz, an art acquisition consultancy firm. Art Media Agency met Guillaume Champavère, the manager and co-founder of Artfinding, to speak to him about their latest initiative.
Art Media Agency : What is Artfinding ?
Guillaume Champavère: Artfinding is a multi-service website dedicated to the high-end art market. We wish to become indispensable to amateur art lovers and collectors by proposing a variety of services. Artfinding now also acts as a broker (with a catalogue of more than 4,000 thousand works at an average cost of €80,000) and provides directories (10,000 galleries), videos (450 videos of artworks, exhibitions etc.), statistical analyses (partnered by SNA and CNRS), information (18,000 press releases published) and investment advice. Artfinding was created in December 2006 by four associates.
Why did you launch Artfinding?
I decided to create Artfinding as a result of various professional experiences in the art market (galleries, salons, art expertise firms and auction houses). After my studies at EAC and completing a thesis about the online art market, I wanted to find a structure that was close to my own vision of the milieu. As I found that there was no such structure, I decided to create it from scratch.
Who are your clients?
Our clients are mostly active in the domains of art, luxury goods or private banking. Our services and content allow us to receive a significant amount of important customers.
What made you decide to extend your services and launch artfinding.biz?
Artfinding.biz was created after several internet collectors told me that our services were of outstanding quality and very varied, but that we could perhaps provide more support and advice to potential buyers in order to assist them in buying artworks. After much research and numerous conferences about art investment, I realised that in France, although people buy art for many reasons, tax benefits are often the deciding factor. Furthermore, as we are very experienced at Artfinding – with more than four hundred interviews to our name, a team focusing on current events in the world of art and tools designed exclusively for our needs – we knew that we could guarantee our clients efficiency, professionalism and confidentiality. We had everything we needed, as well as the expert knowledge required to set up an art investment consultancy.
What does Artfinding.biz involve in concrete terms?
Firstly, I analyse what the client wants (style, era, dimensions etc.) and I then proceed to compile a selection of works from various galleries, carefully selected according to reputation, level of expertise and congeniality (one of the joys of buying a work of art is spending time with passionate and interesting people). I then present the selection to the client, accompany them to the galleries and negotiate prices, making sure the client pays less than if they had come alone, commission included. I then supervise transport and delivery. We handle everything and the client never has a moment’s concern. Above all, the client must love the artwork and be confident throughout and after the transaction.
Who are your main competitors?
There are many competitors, inasmuch as there are dozens of independent art advisors. However, there are few consultancies that function like us.
You have said that each client gets complete and individual attention. What makes your service different to that of independent advisors?
We have the following advantages: firstly, we conduct a personalised study of our client’s tastes and preferences. We don’t impose our own taste, but adapt ourselves to the client. We like to meet our clients in the space where the artworks will be housed in order to get a clearer picture of their personality and expectations. We then ensure that the client pays less for the piece than they would have if they had come on their own, commission included. We can negotiate prices because of our partnerships with galleries. We do not work with contemporary art, which we consider too changeable and speculative. We advise only works that are guaranteed refuge value assets ranging from Antiquity to exceptional modern artworks. In France, we are the only company to offer such a comprehensive and personalised service, due to our solid partnerships with galleries and art dealers – an advantage that independent consultants do not have.
Are you specialised in any specific fields?
We work in all fields, except contemporary and avant-garde art. The galleries we recommend are the most eminent in their specialities. We also have independent experts for each speciality, who provide a second assessment in addition to that of the seller.
What are the advantages and guarantees of artfinding.biz?
Firstly, the galleries are some of the most eminent in the field. It is thus guaranteed that the work is authentic and there is a certificate to prove it. We also require additional guarantees in addition to those that are usually provided. Secondly, the buyer pays less than they would have without us and we receive commission only from them. Thirdly, as we are very experienced at Artfinding, we can answer the three most important questions very rapidly: what to buy? Where to buy it? At what price? As I have already mentioned, we do not deal with contemporary and avant-garde art, as it is simply too speculative and unpredictable.
Have you gained new clients via Artfinding.biz and who are they?
We work with both private individuals and legal entities. However, there are more private individuals, as it is beneficial from a fiscal point of view for them to acquire art. In terms of volume, we prefer not to say too much at this point. The service was launched only recently, but we have already realised several transactions of between €80,000 and €370,000. To date, all but one of our clients have been French. We prefer to focus on private individuals who wish to diversify their portfolio by acquiring stable assets. Artfinding is the perfect context for such an enterprise, as it allows us to propose a large and varied selection. Furthermore, the consultancy service was launched after repeated requests by clients.
Has the initial response been positive?
We are highly satisfied with the feedback we have received. Our clients have returned to use or recommended us to acquaintances. For us, it is a highly interesting way to share our knowledge and network with passionate amateur art lovers.
Are there any further projects in the pipeline?
Yes, we are currently working on three projects: an online estimation service with a major auctioneer, an art insurance service with one of the leading brokers on the market and an auction result service with another firm that I direct – Art Market Manager. I’ll conclude by saying that we prefer to refer to an art acquisition consultancy, rather than speak of investments. The primary reason for buying an artwork should never be financial, but emotional. A client that is sees their artwork only as an investment will inevitably be disappointed. An art lover will always profit from their acquisition.
From an interview with Guillaume Champavère, manager and co-founder of Artfinding.