Filled with expert historians and affluent collectors, the art world can pose a tough barrier to entry for those looking to join the space known for its exclusivity. Fortunately, experience is not a pre-requisite for the protection and guidance offered by asset management firm Petricca & Co. For access to their custom services, one needs only a dedication to art collecting. Composed of a team of art experts, Petricca Art Banking aims to satisfy both experienced collectors and new collectors with a full range of tailor-made services: advice, purchase and sale, legal aspects, complex transactions, loans for structuring or managing art funds. Their mission? Guide and protect the passion of their collectors. We spoke to Martina Alemani, a contemporary art adviser, to provide insight on the current state of the art market, and the motivation to create Petricca Art Banking.
L'Officiel Art: What motivated you to create Petricca Art Banking and what services do you offer to the market?
Martina Alemani: What we have been experiencing in the market for the past 15 or 20 years is something that has never happened before in art history. Cutting-edge art is changing the usual market. It is considered a safe investment, independent of the ups and downs of the general economy. As such, the iconic works of art by Rothko, Picasso and Van Gogh are highly sought-after assets, for which sophisticated collectors are ready to pay dizzying prices. And we have many factors affecting the art market at the same time.
The art world has become an industry since 2008 and, at that time, we learned that leadership, mentorship and investment are important factors. The new art industry operates in concert with certain changes in business. I think highly qualified and experienced professional advisers are lacking in the art market. This is why I founded Petricca Art Banking, a specialized department within Petricca & Co Capital - FCA Authorized Fund Management Firm. The Petricca Art Banking team offers expertise in buying and selling, legal aspects, structuring of complex transactions and tailor-made loans to allow a greater number of transactions with specific assistance on complex transactions, but above all with significant economic counter-values.
What impact do you think the Corona virus will have on the art market?
We are going through a difficult period with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. Our lives are in danger, and the economic blow has already been suffered by many sectors, including the art industry. I can't say exactly what the world and the art market will look like after the Corona virus, but I do know that transparency, blockchain, financing and investment funds are the main drivers shaping the current market. and which will have a direct impact on the market of tomorrow.
The quarantine and cancellation of public events during this period have been an acceleration engine for innovative online solutions. Art Basel HK is the world's first virtual art fair, and the prices of the exhibits are de facto open to a wider audience. The art market is gaining transparency, the data is available and people are starting to compare themselves. Blockchain technology will further support the transparency of works by tracing individual passages and origins and, finally, authenticity. Funding is a growing trend and will also be needed to help the art market recover. Partnerships with banks or more investment capital are an opportunity to be explored.
Despite all attempts at regulation, the art market is still very opaque and unregulated. With an increasing interest in investing in art, do you see ways in which the market could change?
Yes, I do, because the growing interest in art is one of the main drivers. In any sector, as you start to grow and become more international, more global, more transactional, you have to become much more sophisticated and more transparent. You need transaction specialists such as lawyers, art market analysts and qualified bankers to structure the transactions. Of course, more experienced collectors know what they are dealing with, they are used to the market, they know how to be advised, but there is a whole group of new collectors who are interested in the art market, but not so experienced and this is exactly where we offer our expertise.
How are banks prepared for this situation?
The banks are not really prepared. They offer sponsorship support for art fairs and art events, which they use more as a marketing tool for their general services rather than as specialized financial services for the art market.
Do you think the banks need help with this market transition?
Yes, because they do not have internal specialists and dedicated services. Banks should work with art professionals and external institutions. Petricca Art Banking thus offers our expertise, and we have structured a very interesting collaboration with Deutsche Bank.
The financial market is actively focusing on investment funds, which have failed in the art sector. Is there a new scenario for this type of product?
The new generation of investment funds must have a precise strategic orientation, as is the case in other sectors. In an environment of greater transparency, traceability and professionalism applied to transactions, the funds will be able to play their role in supporting the art market in its final transformation into new merchandise.
Last but not least, approved companies such as Petricca & Co Capital will be able to create within their management a series of art investment funds, which will be tools to support and stabilize the art market with performances focused on the results as for any other asset and management product in mature markets such as real estate, renewable energies and others.