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Artprice celebrates its 20th birthday, editorial by thierry Ehrmann, founder and CEO of Artprice.

[07/10/2017]

Artprice is 20 today. That might sound young to some, but in terms of the digital economy, that’s very old indeed.

A legendary organisation in many respects, Artprice experienced the most extraordinary IPO in the history of the Paris stock exchange, reaching a capitalization in excess of EUR 400 million within hours.

It has suffered severe corrections as well, notably after the new-tech stocks crash in 2000, nine-eleven, the 2nd Gulf War, the financial crisis of 2007 and a number of other exogenous events, and its iconoclastic approach has made it the target of lengthy lawsuits brought by monopolistic behemoths riding on centuries of Art Market omerta and opacity.

Artprice has survived a climate of irrational animosity from certain quarters, sometimes involving outlandish fantasies; but each attack has made the company stronger… and wiser.

Using the Internet – a domain in which its parent company Groupe Serveur has been a dominant pioneer since 1987 – Artprice has completely transformed the Art Market.

Its operational headquarters are located at a site Time Magazine described as the “legendary” Demeure du Chaos. The site, referred to as “The Abode of Chaos” by the New York Times, is also the “Organe” Contemporary Art Museum, where its loyal employees – from digital white rooms to documentary collections, mansucripts and catalogs – are enthusiastic experts.

Artprice has built the largest Art Market databank in the world with a almost State-sized archive base. In 2005, Artprice set up the largest Standardized Marketplace for artworks in the world.

It has become global leader in Art Market Information by providing, among other services, real-time streams of Art Market information for more than 7,200 media outlets such as the financial news agency Bloomberg.

It has also given insight to its 4.5 million loyal subscribers, whom it thanks for their loyalty. This also applies to the 6,300 Auction Houses it works with, loyal partners in their contribution with Artprice.

The old stock-market adage « prices peaks usually return » has been confirmed no less than three times in 20 years, making the Artprice share a legendary stock that cannot be understood without a clear grasp of the spatio-temporal paradigm shifts driving the 21st century.

Artprice is a “must-have” stock for all investors ans gamblers… whatever their strategy.

It has a cenacle of shareholders that would make a number of CAC 40 companies green with envy.

Its loyal shareholders are powerful, formidable and discreet people, including, among others, members of families that have held strong positions in the world’s oldest market for hundreds of years (mankind exchanged artworks well before currencies) and who – well before the public – understood that Artprice’s vision of the art market was totally unavoidable.

Artprice’s exceptional family of shareholders is reflected in my somewhat provocative observation that “the Art Market is like financial markets… only ten times smarter and ten times more unforgiving”.

So what exactly is this ‘secret chalice’… this ‘Grail’… that so many people have sought in vain – including exceptional men like Dr. Hippolyte Mireur (19th century) and Enrique Mayer (20th century) whose carefully-compiled registers of art market exchanges are now a part of Artprice?

This metaphorical ‘Grail’, that can only be apprehended by Alchemy and its Prima Materia (Alchemical Chaos), is in fact a set of equations and algorithms that explain art prices and expose how they are formed.

For the art market’s old regime lurking in the twilight, the adage « Art has no price » was the core of a deliberately mystifying ideology.

Over 20 years of historical and legendary combat, Artprice has opened the gates of the Temple of Art to the profane.

Ten or so years ago, a famous Art Market historian and sociologist told me that Artprice was immortal, not for its economic function, but rather for the irrevocable changes it has brought to the Art Market and, therefore, to Art History.

Artprice has demonstrated that art does have structured and highly sophisticated price mechanisms, in an efficient market that is substantially more rational and mature than many other markets.

Financial markets offer a particularly poor comparison at a time when negative interest rates and quantitative easing (QE) (a concept that our grandparents referred to simply as “money printing”) do little to reassure savers.

So yes… Artprice is now 20… an age of freedom and exploration; an age in which the emerging new world can dance on the ashes of the old economy that has not yet understand it is already dead.

Artprice may be 20, but it has already acquired a 100 years of experience, wisdom and combative energy.

We know – as our mentor Marcel Duchamp taught us – that our fiercest critics are the biggest contributors to the global success of Artprice.

To our loyal shareholders, a big thank you for your unfailing confidence.

As a final word: Artprice has never modified its capital structure and has repeatedly designated myself, its Founder, as its CEO and principal shareholder. The exponential growth of the Internet and the current paradigm shift – unique in the history of modernity – continue to fuel my belief that Artprice is still very much in its early stages.

The Artprice adventure continues with supreme confidence and vigour.

thierry Ehrmann

Copyright thierry Ehrmann 1987/2017

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