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Art investments: Take the right choice - Interview with José Eduardo G. de Almeida e Silva

17 Maggio 2010 - Autore: Redazione


Art investments: Take the right choice - Interview with José Eduardo G. de Almeida e Silva

Please introduce yourself, your professional career and your company.
I was born in 1960, into a traditional Portuguese family which, since my early years, inspired me a deeply aesthetical sense regarding the world, the word and images. At the age of 22 I finished my degree in Anthropology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Three years later I took my master in communication at the same university. Meanwhile I went to the Cinema Art College in Lisbon, where I stayed for three years, although I didn’t finish my degree.

My first real job was cultural adviser of the Cartaxo’s Mayor (a little county 50km away from Lisbon), and latter I went to IPPC (a governmental institution which, at the time, was charged to fix and control all the Portuguese cultural policy, namely in what concerns museums, libraries, monuments, public exhibitions, etc.). Soon I gave up because there was a lot of politics involved in that job.

After a while in real estate and leisure business, I went back to the cultural activity through an international financial consulting company, where I was director of art investments, inventory, valuation and art insurance. About 5 years later a friend invited me to be his art director at his Art Gallery in Lisbon. This was the beginning. In a couple of years I owned four art galleries and, at the same time, in partnership with an Italian friend (Mr. Manuel Faliero Lassi) I started an art management company. So what began as a passion became a huge monster, which took all my time and changed my way to face art which, from a deeply inner love, became just a commercial enterprise. As a result of that, in 2004 I sold all my shares and I moved to London where I started working as an independent art adviser and art critic. I worked for several magazines, art web sites and with a short list of old customers.

At the end of last year, Manuel Faliero Lassi, who developed his work as art consultant in Portugal and Spain, invited me to start a new company which operates in UK, Portugal and Spain. Thus EF & Partners, Art Consulting was born, working in art consulting and art advising worldwide, namely in UK, Spain Portugal, Italy and Luxembourg, presenting all the services in art, from acquisition and sale to inventory and valuation.


What about UK Art Advisory scenario? And how international situation is going to reflect into that?

In my opinion, the advisory scenario in UK is very similar to those we can find all over the world, mainly in EU countries. You see, art consulting is a peculiar business grounded in mutual trust. Our task is to help our customers to take the right choices in what concerns to art, which means a full knowledge of the client taste, sensibility and financial situation. On the other hand the client must be sure about our skills and integrity. As you can see, it is a very close relationship. Here you can’t measure the success by the number of clients, but for the quality of them. To start in this business you must have an old and faithful clientele, otherwise you will soon close doors. We are lucky to have several clients; individuals, companies and institutions that have been working with us (I mean, with me and Mr. Manuel Lassi) for more then 10 years. That is our major asset.

The last year’s global crisis made a new kind of customers emerg; those who have good art works and wish to sell them discreetly. Luckily the bad fortune of some is others luck. So, at the same time, we watch the collapse of some traditional collections, we notice a growing up clientele from new markets, namely from China and new countries which owned their independence after the USSR fall. Thus today to operate in the art market means to work worldwide being aware of the cultural differences.

In my opinion, this is the biggest difference from the near past to the present reality. In the 90s I worked in the British or in the New York art market. Now, at the turn of the new century’s first decade, you can only be regarded as real professional when you can prove that you operate in the international market which means Europe, Asia, America, etc. That’s the new reality and we have to play with it.
 

The article continues to International Alternative Investment Review - n.1, 2010

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