The FINANCIAL -- Niko Pirosmani, Gigo Gabashvili, Elene Akhvlediani and David Kakabadze are considered the most valuable Georgian artists, worth being invested in in order to receive financial return. “I would not risk investing in modern artists,” says Lika Mamacashvili, curator of the Georgian National Museum Karvasla.
“My advice is to invest in Pirosmani, Gia Peradze, who made his career in Germany, Sergo Kobuladze, Petre Otskheli, David Kakabadze or Irakli Parjiani,” Mamacashvili notes.
“If I had discussed art commercially, for investing money I would buy Van Gogh. In the case of Van Gogh, you are assured that it will not disappear and won’t lose its value,” says Zurab Gikashvili, painter.
“You can buy graphical works of Rembrandt for USD 40,000. At the same time there is the modern American artist Jeff Koons, whose works costs USD 45 million. Why and how the prices are fixed is a big question even for us artists,” Gikashvili declares.
“Currently prices on the modern art market are set by a certain group of people on the world market. Art is a sphere full of unexpectedness. Someone can suddenly make a decision to popularize an artist and the prices for his works will sharply increase and reach astronomic figures. World popular auctions are a good place to gain lots of money. Auctions are a kind of mafia,” says Vanda Mujiri, Director of the gallery Hobby.
Mujiri notes that the future of an artist depends entirely on chance. When one famous person gets interested in an otherwise relatively unknown artist, suddenly interest towards their work sharply increases. “The situation was same with Irina Shteinberg. Two or three years ago she became popular throughout the whole world, starting when a catalogue of her work was published and she appeared at an auction.”
Mamacashvili believes that it is not correct to say that artists get popular only with the help of successful PR. “With the help of machinations you can increase prices as well. Maybe you can find less talented artists worldwide whose works currently reach astronomic figures, this tendency will not last for a long time. At present in Georgia a popular art direction is video art and installation. In Europe its fashion has already passed along.”
“If you have invested in an internationally popular artist, you are sure to get feedback from the work. There is another category of collections which you spent money on only for the pleasure they give. For me it is difficult to foresee any modern painter whose work is worth investing money in now, with the hope to receive feedback in the long run. The future success of artists is based on the talent of their works and popularity during their life. Presently one of the most successful artists is Irakli Parjiani. He was one of a popular group of painters during his life but the cost of their works is not so high as his,” Mujiri says.
“Elene Akhvlediani is not so popular abroad as Pirosmani, because of less popularization,” Mamacashvili says.
Works of Pirosmani at the Sotheby auction were sold for USD 1.83 millions. Mujiri believes that this is not their real worth. The reason for it is that Pirosmani is not as popular abroad as other, worldwide artists: Jan Jak Russo, Picasso or Claude Monet. “The popularization of artists depends on the country, how it presents its artists on an international level. I hope that time will pass and Pirosmani will be valued accordingly.”
“Dealers are able to foresee the future value of artists. In Georgia there is no school of dealers. Artists do not participate in the statement of cost. Even the popularization of impressionists would not reach such scales, if it were not for the huge work of dealers,” says Gikashvili, artist.
“When popularizing artists, much attention is paid to their biography. Lots of interesting international festivals are held every year and for artists it’s very important to participate in them. Unfortunately our artists do not have the opportunity to participate in many of these festivals,” Mujiri says.
Mujiri notes that the Georgian Government has started actively presenting Georgia at international cultural events, but it’s not enough. “For the development of the art market the support of the business sector is very important. To enter Sotheby’s auction lots of work need to be done. Catalogues have to be prepared, participation in international exhibitions and so on. Presently many Georgian artists do not even have catalogues of their work. Artists should always work on documenting images. Georgian art is a qualified product, with big potential but it needs huge work before it can be exported.”
“In Germany German artists are much encouraged by business organizations. One of the most popular lobbyists is Deutsche Bank. It occupies the richest collection of art works,” Gikashvili says.
“Gudiashvili was popularized by his wife and daughter, Pirosmani by the Georgian Government. The work of dealers in Georgia is not developed. You can hardly find even three or four dealers. Out of modern painters the most popular are: Gia Bugadze, Irakli Parjiani, Levan Chogoshvili, Gia Gugushvili, Mamuka Tsetskhladze, Zurab Nijaradze and Avto Varazi. The minimum price for the works of Varazi is USD 10,000,” Mamacashvili says.
“Gia Bugadze popularized himself. He actively participated in Biennial festivals and different exhibitions,” Mamacashvili declares.
The biography of artist Petre Ockheli is presumed to be one of the most attractive ones. “He died when he was 33 years old, but during his life he created a huge and interesting biography. He was a painter of the Shota Rustaveli theatre, he also worked in leading Russian theatres. Otskheli is the leading Georgian advance guard artist. His first catalogue was published during the Soviet Period. Later his exhibition was held in Moscow, in English,” says Maia Kutateladze, Curator of Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi National Museum, Karvasla.
“In Europe one of the leading buyers of art works are banks and business organizations. Ernst and Young, Auditor Company, has an interesting art collection. In Georgia the level of auctions is at its lowest. This job is connected with lots of difficulties. Workers of galleries and organizers are working hard in order to arrange auctions, but the demand for it is small. In Georgia Magti GSM was actively buying works of art,” Mamacashvili notes.
“In the 1980s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was huge interest towards our artists from the West. A return of interest in a period appears after the passing of time. Usually an art work that is more than 50 years old is considered antiquary. Today there is big interest towards the Soviet Period and Social Realism,” Mujiri says.
Written By Madona Gasanova