Collecting Art is Child’s Play
There have been several reports in the media recently of the growing number of children who are developing their own art collections which are being funded by their wealthy and well connected parents most of whom are themselves seasoned fine art aficionados. Apparently these children are being taken into some of the hottest contemporary galleries around and let loose without any restraints other than the credit limit on their mums amex. Although the motives of the parents may be to expose their children to the joys of fine art while at the same time teaching the value of money, I can’t help but wonder whether they realise how their actions and the actions of their children may be affecting the art market. With works being chosen on the basis of the relation to the child’s primary interest at the time, some children’s collections are being developed around subjects (read fads) such as candy, kittens, comics and all manner of other weird and wacky things.
If these kiddies weren’t buying works from major contemporary galleries that have already singled out those artists worth collecting and were maybe buying from the local markets, then there wouldn’t be such cause for concern. Whether or not we agree with their methods and approach to art collecting, the fact remains that the younger generation are being put in a position that will enable many of them to dictate or alter the future direction of the art market. Does this mean that we could use children to predict the future of the art market, well, maybe, but I don’t see the worlds most influential art dealers being accompanied to the Venice Biennale or Charles Saatchi being advised by a fifth grader just yet.
Bring on Art Collector Barbie !!!
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.