[NetBehaviour] Contemporary art is a fraud, says top dealer.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Sun Feb 22 13:04:17 CET 2009

Contemporary art is a fraud, says top dealer.

The soaring prices - and their subsequent collapse - are proof to some 
experts that the works had a price, but not much value.

One of the world’s leading art dealers this week launched an astonishing 
attack on the contemporary art market, condemning the millions charged 
for some works as “almost fraud”.

The comments from David Nahmad, a Monaco-based dealer who is possibly 
the biggest in the world, come as art buyers reel from the collapse of 
the contemporary market.

They echo remarks by the British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro, who last 
week said that “stupid outrageous values” had become more important than 
the work itself.

Mr Nahmad, who is reputed to have a £2bn collection of some 5,000 
paintings, including 300 Picassos, told The Independent on Sunday: 
“There are a lot of embarrassed people who bought art that is now not 
worth what they paid for it. For the past three or four years it’s been 
a very, very thin market, with just two or three buyers pushing up 
prices by bidding against each other.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people knew the game. So those people who did 
not know are realising it now. It’s almost a fraud. I would never advise 
my clients to buy contemporary art.”


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