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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens' News Blog 17 2023

Stefan Kobel reports on various art fairs that took place last week: Brussels, Milan and Dallas as well as the sustainability efforts of the Art Dealers Association of America. Sustainability is also increasingly becoming an issue in the sale of financial investments. The only problem is that some political currents in Europe think that climate neutrality can only be achieved by reducing CO² emissions and decarbonisation. Last Friday, I had the opportunity to listen to the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation - Prof. Robert Schlögl - who was able to prove with clear facts that many of the regulatory goals set by politicians today are not even close to being achievable. Unfortunately, blinkers lead to a narrowing of the possibilities. Affordable e-fuels are possible and ensure mobility for everyone, even on an individual basis. At some point, this will also affect the transport of art to fairs and exhibitions, which brings us to the registrars:

They have their annual conference today and tomorrow in Braunschweig, where a new board will be elected, as Volker Thiel is stepping down after what feels like a decade of successful work. In addition to about 150 members, the association has 25 supporting members, which means that each supporting member can take care of 6 members. A real dream quota compared to other associations. The registrars in public institutions, however, only award contracts to a very limited extent, as these are handled by the respective tendering bodies of the public sector. It is all the more astonishing that of the 25, 13 come from the insurance sector and 11 from the art transport sector. Most of them have not even attended the annual conferences in recent years. In Braunschweig, Ms Teichner will be there for us this time and hopes to gain interesting insights from the workshops.

Great luck for the museums in German-speaking Switzerland: they do not have to pay customs duty on works of art that were imported tax-free decades ago. Even though the Swiss import sales tax is only 7.7%, the institutions would be ruined because the tax authorities would want to enforce on the basis of today's market values. So a Picasso that cost CHF 100,000 in 1950 would be taxed today on the basis of CHF 20,000,000; no museum has that amount at its disposal. The intervention at the Federal Council was of use, the claims were probably recalled.

Normally there is always a clever mind behind it but sometimes the FAZ also participates in the bullshit bingo when it comes to the art market. On p.29 of yesterday's Friday evening Sunday newspaper, under the headline "The business with art: The rich spend a lot of money on paintings. Museums hardly get anything anymore". Then there are a few graphics and a few pictures and that's it. This is such bad journalism that we are happy to refrain from naming the authors, who probably didn't think anything of this propaganda. Especially in Germany, galleries and museums need support so that they don't get lost in the communicative monotony between Instagram and TikTok.

A week full of art enjoyment

Wishes the team of Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH Cologne and Solothurn and Stephan Zilkens

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Dr. Stephan Zilkens | Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker