WNYC asks an interesting question about the relative prices of pre-war Manhattan apartments and important works of art. The NYC Economic Development Corporation’s Stephen Giachetti did a study comparing the top real estate prices in the city with the top works of art sold in 2011 in New York. You can see their chart above. While you digest that, let’s see what the real estate folks have to say about the relationship between art and real estate:
Here’s Corcoran’s Sharon Baum on the real estate view of the issue:
Does it make sense to you that a Picasso could be worth the same as a six bedroom on Fifth Avenue?
Well, both have a lot in common, especially if you’re talking about pre-war apartments on Fifth Avenue. Obviously, there cannot be any more pre-war luxury, six-room luxury apartments on Park Avenue because what there is is what there is. And when you have a Rembrandt or a Picasso, what there is, there is, and there can’t be any more. So both of them have a lot in common.
So does a taste for art tend to go hand in hand with a taste for expensive real estate?
Most times it does and it can be contemporary art or it can be the masters, but most of my clients for these major apartments are also major collectors. They go to Art Basel, they go to all the auctions. They’re there.
For example, I sold the Brooke Astor apartment. Well, Brooke Astor had beautiful art. The people who bought the apartment were a much different age bracket than Brooke Astor, but they’re big art collectors.
When an expensive apartment changes hands, does the buyer sometimes purchase the art on the walls?
Never. Oftentimes people visiting a property will say, “Would they be willing to sell any of their art? Would they sell those instead of having them go to auction?” but they never, never, never, ever stay. And usually nothing is for sale because it’s either going to family members or it’s going to auction.