Philanthropy Impact

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Beyond Art Collecting: Exploring the Options

Martina Macpherson provides a roundup of the discussion on 23 Sept 2014

Beyond Art Collecting: Exploring the Options

Event report

Participation in the art market has always been an area of interest for HNW individuals. Though the level of activity in producing and collecting contemporary art, alongside the classics, is increasing quickly. What are the key challenges for private art collectors, collections and foundations? A recent roundtable produced by Philanthropy Impact has tried to shed some more light on this…


On 23 September 2014, Philanthropy Impact and Rothschild hosted a panel discussion that explored and evaluated a range of opportunities and challenges for art collectors and their advisors. Various models, structures and themes for private art collections and foundations were discussed and debated with approximately 60 guests – in a conference room with impressive City views on the top floor of Rothschild’s headquarters in London.

Nandu Patel, Managing Director of Rothschild Wealth Management and Head of Charities, welcomed all speakers and guests and provided introductory remarks about art collecting and the history of Rothschild.

The discussion was chaired and opened by Pierre Valentin, one of the founding partners of City law firm Constantine Cannon LLP in London. He introduced the panel and gave a presentation on legal and tax issues arising in connection with life-time gifts, bequests and other disposal strategies. He focused on family engagement and governance and raised many valuable points on “ownership and control” when establishing an art collection and debated the meaning of a “long-term legacy”.

Maria de Peverelli, former Gallery Director of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation in Lugano and founder of art advisory firm OmniArte GmbH, elaborated on her experiences with past and present clients especially in relation to issues concerning managing private collections, challenges regarding the disposal of a collection. She discussed various models, options and the role of family members to “identify a best-in-class art collection strategy” for the future.

In his speech, Nicolai Frahm, a Danish private art collector and advisor who co-owns the Dairy Art Centre, gave personal insights into the world of a contemporary art collector and the nature of art advisory. Nicolai has travelled the world. He has gained and given inspirations for many contemporary art exhibitions around the world and is interested in the arts across cultures - in particular, he is fascinated by Chinese and Indian art. “Art should be for everyone”, this motto and his personal passion for collecting led him to establishing his own private contemporary art museum, the Dairy Art Centre, in London.

The last speaker of the day was Steven Kettle, Executive Director of the Stonehage Group and Chairman of the Stonehage Art Management Division, who addressed issues related to long term strategic thinking and planning for collections. He shared relevant findings from his extensive travelling and from observing foundation and museum models around the world. Steven asked an all important question: “Is this about art, or is it about the art collector?” while discussing challenges relating to branding and collaboration for private, family-owned art collections and foundations.

The event was closed by Pierre Valentin who summarised the key talking points of the day and provided an outlook on private art collecting for the next generation. He also hosted the public Q&A where further challenges relating to private collecting, art auctions and long term value creation through art collecting where discussed further.

The session provided excellent insights into the world of art collecting from many ‘social’ and philanthropic angles. The discussions touched on personal emotions and passion for the arts; family succession, engagement and legacy questions including ownership and control and on branding and collaboration in times when many private collections may face challenges due to mergers, acquisition or restructuring. The financial dimension of art investing was discussed - but it clearly plays a less important role for art lovers and collectors.


Event commentary by Martina Macpherson, Managing Partner, SI Partners –

Martina, an art lover, founded her own consultancy, SI Partners, in 2014 after spending 14 years in financial services. She has worked on global sustainable investment research, analytics and consulting projects across industry and academia. Martina is also a trustee at Thomas Arneway Trust, supporting small businesses and social enterprise, and COO at ReFine Research Charity, supporting academic research projects. Martina holds a M.A. (Hons) in Law, Philosophy and History of Art from Frankfurt & Cambridge University as well as PRCA and CIM and IMA Certificates in Strategic Marketing and Asset Management. She is a CIM member and alumni fellow of the German National Academic Foundation. Martina is a multi-lingual public speaker, researcher and writer on a broad range of topics including art, philosophy and sustainable investments – in 2014 she co-wrote a book about “Fundamentals of Modern Philanthropy”.

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