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By | Art Market Snapshot, Business, Gurr Johns News | No Comments

Gurr Johns: Perspectives sees our specialists share their views, opinions and insights about the art world. In the first of the series, Shea Goli shares her thoughts on the contemporary market during COVID-19 including market trends, NFTs, and the artists on her radar.

What has surprised you most about the contemporary market’s response to the global pandemic? 

Fifteen years ago, the pandemic would have been disastrous for the art market so thankfully advances in digital technology have enabled the art world to adapt quickly and move completely online.  While Zoom, social media and Clubhouse chats have been helpful, and no doubt long overdue in our industry, they can’t begin to replicate the in real life experience of standing in front of a work of art or chance meetings at an art fair or gallery opening.  Even the most impressive online viewing rooms have simply reinforced to our advisory team at Gurr Johns the importance of the non-digital space as a channel for discovering new art and engaging in personal relationships.  There is a certain momentum and energy to selling art that cannot be captured digitally.

As a contemporary art advisor, it’s really tricky to work in this context and with so many obstacles; our business is based on relationships and you can’t underestimate the value that clients place on our specialist insights and access.  That said, while restrictions have been challenging, they have also highlighted the need for change. The push to digital in a mostly antiquated business has provided new and exciting opportunities for artists and new collectors, as well as showing us that we can all afford to slow down when it comes to travel and art fairs!

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This year, Gurr Johns and ESA Business School are pleased to celebrate the fifth anniversary of a successful partnership offering the leading art business course in the Middle East.

This enterprising initiative was launched in 2016 when Diane Abela, Gurr Johns’s Director for the Middle East, was approached by two Lebanese art experts who proposed a partnership with the Ecole Superieure des Affaires (ESA Business School) in Beirut to create a highly specialised Art Business Course. In the past five years, more than seventy alumni have completed the six-month course; participants have included professionals and collectors, all of whom have been given the opportunity to gain specialised knowledge and insight into the most important relevant aspects of the art business from valuations, marketing and market trends to art law and finance.  The course culminates in a four-day trip to London organised by Diane which includes exclusive access to museums, galleries, auction houses and artist studios.

Diane Abela, Director for the Middle East, Gurr Johns: “Having launched this initiative only five years ago, it’s amazing to think that our partnership with ESA has already seen more than seventy particpants in the Middle East graduate from the Arts Management course, and it’s really encouraging that demand continues to grow. The alumni community is a diverse group; from collectors and enthusiasts to finance and law professionals who had sought expert insight into the art world, as well as post-graduates now employed at galleries across Europe and the Middle East. Gurr Johns is extremely grateful to ESA for being such professional partners and we look forward to welcoming more participants and to growing the alumni community internationally in years to come.”

Maxence Duault, General Director of the ESA Business School: “We’re very pleased to have partnered with Gurr Johns and to now offer the leading art business course in the region. Their expertise and values complement our dedication to academic excellence, and we look forward to this partnership continuing to thrive for many years to come.”


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On 29 January 2021 Sonia Fazlali–Zadeh, jewellery and watches specialist at Gurr Johns, was quoted in an article in The New York Times exploring developments in the business of high end jewellery.

“Some collectors will always prefer auction over private sales, and vice versa,” said Sonia Fazlali-Zadeh, jewelry and watches specialist at Gurr Johns, a global appraisal and advisory business. “For the most important stones and large diamonds, most collectors will buy wherever it is being offered, as long as the price is right.”

Read the full article here.


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On 17 December 2020 Ben Clark, CEO of Gurr Johns, was quoted in an article in The Art Newspaper exploring the growth of the art market in Asia.

“None of this surprises me,” says Ben Clark of the art advisors Gurr Johns. Between 2017 and 2019 Clark was based in Hong Kong as deputy chairman of Christie’s Asia. “I have been seeing the continual strengthening of the Asian market for at least three years,” he says: “But there has been a definite shift in the past six months. We are seeing far more new young buyers, who have often come into the market through luxury goods or jewellery. For instance, Christie’s previewed part of its sale in the upscale Joyce department store in Hong Kong.”

“There hasn’t been a shift in the number of top-end buyers in Hong Kong, which remains small,” Clark says; “And some top lots in the sales return to the West. The real change is the blossoming of new younger buyers at a lower level.”

Read the full article here.


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On 9 December 2020 Ben Clark, CEO of Gurr Johns, was quoted in The Financial Times discussing the energy of the art market in Asia.

“Having a sense of occasion means so much in China and Hong Kong,” says Ben Clark of the art adviser Gurr Johns, who was previously responsible for expanding Christie’s business in Asia.

“I’ve long said that Asian collectors will write the future narrative of the global art market,” Clark says.

You can read the full article here.


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As we continue to invest in the business and adapt to the demands of our clients, we are delighted to welcome Alessandro Fiorotto to Gurr Johns where he will lead our international Art Finance business.

Alessandro brings a wealth of experience in art finance and investment. He has advised on over $3bn worth of international transactions, including cross-border corporate acquisitions and portfolio & fund management, deploying and structuring complex debt and equity investments. Alessandro joins us from The Fine Art Group where he was appointed CFO. Previously Alessandro worked at XXIII Capital, and prior to that for Citigroup and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Philosophy, Politics, Economics from The University of Cape Town, and an MsC in Politics & Economics from University College London (UCL).

Alessandro will be based in London from where he will direct the Art Finance business internationally.

Deputy CEO, Gurr Johns


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Christopher Gaillard, Deputy Chairman of Gurr Johns, was quoted in the Fall 2020 edition of Artnet’s Intelligence Report which was published on 16 September.

Christopher is quoted on the value which exists in art by female artists and artists of colour (p.6), the market for works by Jean-Michel Basquiat (p.16) and the market for Impressionist and Modern art (p.21).

Read the full report here.


By | Art Fairs, Art Market Snapshot, Business | No Comments

Sonia Fazlali-Zadeh, specialist for Jewels and Watches at Gurr Johns, reports on the Watch market looking at both modern and vintage models.

London’s largest public watch show will be held again the 26th and 27th March 2021 at Grosvenor House, Mayfair offering all things watch related from on-site insurance valuations, accessories and repairs to the opportunity to source and buy exquisite and rare watches. For any watch enthusiast it will also offer the chance to get more insight into shifting trends and new products as well as reflect on what has been achieved over the past year.

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