Saatchi, Sylvester and Gayford on artists, collectors, dealers and the art market


Charles Saatchi ask himself early on in his career with who he would like to be stranded on an island, an artist, a curator, a dealer, a collector or an art critic. Later, he also discussed this issue with the 20th-century art critic David Sylvester.

I also asked myself the same question ,as I come from an economic background, who is the most driving figure and (financiasupporter of art.

When I interviewed Martin Gayford, who is the art critic of Bloomberg News

(check out my interview series posted on this blog in March), I wanted to know his opinion on the relationships.  According to Gayford, artists are the engines of the entire art market as they alone decide which style of art to create of art, how much time they put in creating art and how often they are creating art. Without artists the other jobs would not exist.

According to Mr Saatchi, an artist is a genius who has the toughest job.
Speaking as an art collector, Saatchi said: “you have to be a little nuts to take it on.”

Saatchi and Sylvester share the view that the market of an artist’s work can only be controlled as long as he is not well-known. As soon as he has established relationships with dealers, art buyers, critics, and with museums the market acts according to its own forces; or in Adam Smith’s words, the invisible hand is responsible for the productiveness of a market and for the perfect reallocation of resources which it requires.

Clearly, being part of the art world, whether as an artist, critic, curator, dealer or as a collector, impacts how the art market works and in which direction it is moving. The relationship between people who have the means to support art and therefore hold the reins in their hands, and the artists is essential to guarantee a fertile art market.

The past has proven, for example in the case of the Young British Artists  and the art collector Saatchi, that financial supporters are the ones responsible for the rise or fall of new artists.

How successful would Damien Hirst be today without Saatchi’s help to turn his idea to put a shark in a vitrine into practice?

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