The Fine Art Fund doesn’t report its results publicly but that isn’t stopping its chief, Philip Hoffman from trying to tip his hand. Katya Kazakina’s farewell piece from ArtBasel includes what has recently become a common feature of her reporting, Hoffman announcing his results. Not only does the art fund head claim that his firm will manage half a billion dollars in art assets by the end of the year—note the artful phrasing because in other reports Hoffman suggests the firm has moved away from running an art fund toward providing art advisory services to Gulf State clients—but he also tells Kazakina that he made $1.2m profit on a Christopher Wool painting he bought in 2007 (the peak of the previous market) and sold in 2012:
Walking through the fair on opening day, Hoffman said he was alerted that another buyer was interested in an artwork the fund had agreed to purchase earlier that morning. By the end of the day Hoffman resold the work to the new buyer.
“We made 10 percent on the deal,” he said, declining to name the artist or reveal the price. “We never paid for the work. We just netted the profit.”
Hoffman, who started the company in 2001, said he consigned several works to dealers at Art Basel, selling almost $5 million worth of art and averaging compound gains of 10 percent to 20 percent.
Most of the art the fund acquires is valued at $1 million to $10 million, Hoffman said.
Billionaires at Basel Bet Art Better Investment Than Cash (Businessweek)