Bloomberg teases out the meaning of the surprise $8.4m sale of Ferdinand Hodler’s painting earlier this month. The work’s success is part of a discovery of Swiss art as a corner of the market with promise for collectors. With just the right combination of local wealth, bourgeois and avant-garde artistic traditions and troves of work held in private hands, Swiss art is seeing strong demand from foreign buyers who now make up 25% at both auction houses:
The country’s position is bolstered by the large art collections held by Swiss families, according to Hans-Peter Keller, head of the Swiss art department at Christie’s. “This has made Switzerland into a big treasure chest,” Keller said. Millionaire households make up about 12 percent of the total in Switzerland, the second-highest proportion after Qatar,Boston Consulting Group said in a May 30 study.
That doesn’t mean the locals have abandoned their cultural patrimony:
“I just love Hodler’s landscape paintings and Anker’s portraits,”Christoph Blocher, a billionaire collector and former Justice Minister who owns 280 works of Swiss art, said by telephone. “I didn’t think about them as an investment at first — that only started when prices started to rise.”