Kelly Crow explains that although Americans are able to buy Cuban art without restrictions, the easing of travel bans will unleash new competition for Cuban artists:
Right now, works by Cuban artists aren’t necessarily less expensive in Havana than in New York or London. But collectors who visit the island can meet and form relationships with artists there that may result in small discounts or first dibs on new pieces—before the artists’ works reach galleries in Europe or New York. This type of access is particularly valuable for Americans competing with European and Latin American collectors who have been traveling to Cuba for years. Cuban dealers say Americans currently make up more than a third of their buyers. […]
Now, collectors like Miami’s Howard Farber say they expect American art lovers to “stampede” to Cuba’s studios and galleries as soon as it becomes easier for them to travel and shop there. “I believe Cuban art has been a best-kept secret among a few collectors,” Mr. Farber said, “and now that Cuba is opening up to us I think more people will discover a genre that’s fresh and great.”
Prices for Cuban art began climbing during the recession, driven by collectors like Mr. Farber and Miami-based philanthropist Ella Cisneros as well as major museums like London’s Tate. Currently, prices for works by Cuba’s living art stars like Yoan Capote, Carlos Garaicoia and the conceptual art duo Los Carpinteros swing between $5,000 and $400,000 apiece.