Newsletters (May 2017 CINOA newsletter)



Dear colleagues,

I was having a discussion with an artist friend the other day about the art market. She is an artist and very sensitive about the "value" of art. I posited that the art market is not about art at all, it's about money, a somewhat offensive thought to an artist, unless of course, they are making lots of it. That is not, I believe, a hypocritical stance, by the way. Who doesn't need money and if you hit a mother lode, it is best to mine it. But back to the market. Let me iterate that I do not think that the market is about art, it is about the selling of art. It doesn't really matter who the artist is that is "hot", it is just that his or her art is selling well. Indeed, all of the secondary markets are, to some extent, searching for the "coming thing".

At this point, I have to draw a line. Not being an artist, I would suggest that the line will not be absolutely or even remotely straight, but here goes. Dealers, for the most part, care about what they sell. Indeed, dealers tend to choose a genre and stay there, not because it is fashionable, but because they love it. It doesn't mean they won't delve into other genres as that is the great temptation of art. You buy things because they appeal to you, not because they will make you money even though you hope they will. If you need to know why going to a dealer to buy something is worth the money, just go and start asking questions about what you are looking at - I can assure you that it will range from mildly interesting to fascinating to hear what they have to say.

The market, as much as dealers are affected by it, is not controlled by dealers. At one point, there were cabals of very powerful dealers who could affect the market, but today, it is the auction houses that create, or denigrate, a market. Oddly, the contemporary market, an oversimplification of a broad genre, is easily the consistent winner for being a strong market. But what about the items within those sales? That is not unlike the water in the sea. Presumably, the water you swim in today will not be swum in tomorrow. Not so bad for the swimmer, but for the art market, it can be un-nerving. Just imagine that call from the buyer of a $50,000,000 artwork whose stock is going down? "It's not about the art, sir."

I don't mean to be picking on the art world here. All I am saying is that if dealers are able, they should make it clear that connoisseurship is quite distinct from making money or, for that matter, from prestige. There is great art from all ages, something that is less easily said about things in the decorative arts field. But if dealers are ever going to lead, they need to do so in a fashion that eschews the money chase. I'm not saying to not chase profit, I'm saying to not chase things that you don't truly believe in.

All the best,

Clinton Howell
President of CINOA
Learn what is going on and what to see at La Biennale
What does the changing online art landscape look like? The annual Hiscox Online Art Report seeks to answer that question by surveying online art platforms, as well as art buyers, galleries, and dealers. Artsy spoke with Anders Petterson, the man behind the report, for a look at the future.

In order to keep our newsletters short, we will send a separate newsletter to the presidents and staff of our member dealers' associations which will include more details on our ongoing activities and monitoring of legislative issues. If you are interested in receiving this information, please contact us at and we will add you to the distribution list.

Artist Resale Rights / Droite de Suite - An International Conference on the Artist's Resale Right, organised by WIPO, was held in Geneva on April 28, 2017 ahead of the session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR).

Ivory Update in France - A new decree of May 4 modifies in depth that of August 16, 2016 introduces a technical complexity regarding age, use and proportion of ivory. The principle of the prohibition of trade in raw ivory and horn, as well as articles manufactured after 2 March 1947, is maintained, except in limited cases.

UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property - 1970 - CINOA, together with the IAADA, attended and read a statement voicing 5 main points and provided 6 reports proving, contrary to media claims, that there is a very limited illicit art market. This statement was read at the Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the 1970 Convention which took place on 15 and 16 May and which was followed by the Fifth Session of the Subsidiary Committee on 17 to 19 of May 2017.

The Council of Europe's New Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property - At their 1285th meeting on 3 May 2017, the Ministers' Deputies adopted the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property. The new criminal law convention, replacing the failed Delphi Convention, will be opened for signature at the 127th Session of the Committee of Ministers on 19 May in Nicosia, Cyprus.


Keeping clients better informed and making business more transparent top the list of priorities for dealers, according to the LAPADA Members Survey 2017.

Supplying more useful information, including explanatory videos online, boosting confidence with authenticity certificates and a proper returns policy, publishing research into pieces and working closely with trade associations all form part of the drive to raise standards as dealers recognise the need to police themselves more rigorously in the face of increasing challenges from outside interests.

The survey also reveals that on average LAPADA dealers import just under a quarter of overseas purchases from the European Union, while EU buyers account for just under 20% of sales.

CEO Rebecca Davies also noted that members are rapidly recognising not just the importance of the internet and an excellent website for building business, but also the role that social media has to play, particularly Instagram, echoing the thoughts of Sherborne dealer Patrick Macintosh when he recently joined the Board.

"An educational programme, providing more extensive useful information for both dealers and their clients to help them do business together while fulfilling all their compliance obligations is clearly very important to our members if you sift through the responses.

"They convey a very strong sense that high standards of service and transparency are absolutely essential to future prosperity, not something that needs to be imposed on the trade by regulators."

Ms Davies also noted the sharp focus on excellent photography, quality websites and more interaction online, especially via social media.

"For a number of years, many dealers saw the internet as an unnecessary additional burden on their time and resources. Now that has changed and there is a noticeable acceleration in the desire not just to have a website but to make it one of the central planks of every business."

Other notable initiatives and advice among the responses include employing younger staff to help gain a wider perspective on what new clients are looking for, as well as to make sure that galleries use technology and social media more effectively.

Survival, attempting to sell more online and concentrating on finding new business in their local area were also themes when it came to the question of priorities for the year ahead. Although there were a couple of references to Brexit and the uncertainty over future market relationships, the bulk of responses focused on being more proactive, changing with the times and better marketing.

Other key features from the survey include the primacy of decorating alongside collecting as reasons for buying from dealers. The past year has also seen a greater emphasis on higher value items being sold, while clients come primarily from outside the local area but within the UK, and dealers tend to have more overseas than local clients.


SEO Tip: Reuse keywords

Increasing your visibility online means heightening your status on search engines such as Google. Google creates its database using words not images, which means keywords are crucial to being found online. Use keywords in your title such as the style, medium and object type. Once you have keywords and have created your title, use the same phrasing in the first sentence of the description with no other words thrown in. Repeating these keywords helps you be found in Google.


Located in Antwerp, Deconamic specializes in bronzes, sculptures and art from the Art Noveau and Art Deco periods, and has more than thirty years experience in the antiques business. Owner Marjolein van der Slikke discusses the allure of works from these time periods and how to incorporate them into a collection on RubyLUX's LUXPOP! Read more.
Dear Cinoa Dealer,

RubyLUX is proud to partner with CINOA. This partnership aims to advance the art and antiques industry by providing you with the exceptional online tools that RubyLUX is built on to increase your business, and will continue to grow. We believe that you are the only one who can decide what is right for your business. Please browse through the site and contact with any questions.

Best regards,



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