Art bargains in Argentina

steveinbsas

Registered
My favorite art gallery on Arroyo recently closed. The reason I liked it so much was that the owner didn't cater so much to foreigners and was considerable cheaper than the galleries that do. He even had artworks by one 80 year old Argentine artist at prices 30% LESS than the artist is asking in his studio! Most of his inventory of deceased artists was priced 50% less than his "competitors" who are now lamenting the declining tourist traffic.

Anyway, the gallery has closed and the owner has crammed over 500 paintings into a much smaller space in El Centro. It doesn't even have street exposure. Now his prices are even lower...about a third off of his former retail prices. This alone is significant, but when you realize that Argentine art is much cheaper than American or European art, the prices are really astounding.

For example, I recently saw a small painting of a cable car (by a contemporary American artist) in a gallery in Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and the price was $1800 US.

An Argentine street scene painting about the same size by David Heynemann (1903-1989) is priced about the same in a gallery near Plaza San Martin: http://www.galeriamuseoaguilar.com/esp/autores/david-heynemann.html.

The vendor in El Centro had one for $1800 pesos. That was less than $600 US. (I used the past tense because I bought it.) He has paintings by quite a few artists at similar prices, mostly with Argentine themes. He also has really nice paintings for about $200US. If anyone is interested in knowing more please send me note or post questions here.
 

Ries

Registered
As an artist, I have to say that judging art by price alone is not gonna buy me many Bife de Chorizo dinners at La Cabrera.

I am sure there are cheap places to buy art, and if you find work you like, go for it.

But there is a lot more to art than pricing it like you were EASY.

If you are really interested in Art, with a Capital "A", I heartily recommend you go to the next ArteBA, at La Rural, which is in May.
http://www.arteba.org/arteba.htm

There, you will see some of the best, but not the cheapest, of argentine art. And other south american countries as well- in the cheap booths, in the back, this year, there was a great gallery from Peru, and another bunch of kids from Columbia that were really interesting. There is Blue Chip Porteno art, featuring the work of painters you see in Malba, as well as all kinds of young people trying crazy stuff out.
I did not see any paintings of cablecars, though.

The opening night is an incredible party- a champagne company sponsored it, and they were pouring literally thousands of bottles, free- somebody started making a sculpture from discarded plastic champagne flutes, and it quickly reached 2 meters tall. Lots of interesting people, a lot of artists, great clothes and people watching.
Some of the smaller local galleries had quite reasonable work, very modern and cutting edge.

Then, there are monthly gallery nights, in various neighborhoods.
The Recoleta galleries are a bit stuffy- mostly selling stuff you imagine is furnishing grand apartments near Alvear, inhabited by wealthy old ladies with lapdogs and furs. But its a fun evening.
San Telmo gallery night is a bit younger in feel, both in terms of the galleries and the people.

I always try to hit the non-profit spaces in BsAs as well- locals tend to take them for granted, but very few countries have as good a network of state sponsored galleries showing risky contemporary art.
Centro Cultural Recoleta, up above Buenos Aires Design, PROA in Boca, and the Borges Cultural Center above the shopping mall on Florida- any north american city would be happy to have ONE of these. They all often have great shows.
The old central post office downtown has started having shows as well- I saw a great show there in the spring by the Catalan artist Miralda, about the food of Argentina.
Of course, there are the main line art museums on Liberatador as well. Malba, Museo de Arte Moderno, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano, and so on.

Personally, one of my favorite art sites is Museo Xul Solar, in Barrio Norte-
http://www.xulsolar.org.ar/
Its a hidden gem- an incredible building, which is like an Escher print inside, filled with the amazing work of Xul Solar. Its tucked away in a residential neighborhood, and even a lot of Porteno's dont know about it, but its well worth a visit.

Looking at art is free. Yes, a few museums charge, but its balanced out by the free champagne on gallery nights.
And the more art I look at, the less I am satisfied by low prices and generic paintings.
There are some incredible artists in Buenos Aires, and many of the young ones sell for very reasonable prices.
 

johnnycallao

Registered
Unfortunately I am not in the position to indulge myself wth the purchase of works of art. That being said I have a new cafe & bar situated in an ideal location in Recoleta of which my original intention was to display works of art etc. This is still the case, though not my priority.

The building/business is an ideal venue to expose/display these types of mediums and though I have no false conseptions that art work being portrayed in cafe houses or such wll increase sales of those works, it does offer a unique and extended exposure of said works, which can lead to more oppotunities for the artists/gallery owner.

So what Ii offer is to nvite you to my place of business and further discuss options to display and/or avail the buildng for showings of the work. All I would like is to have the art work in my business for the enjoyment of my clients for a specific period of time and perhaps purchase certain works.

Bottom line is that you can keep your art in your artpartment or maybe consider displaying it in my place for which I would compensate you and promote the sale.

Casa Bar - A house with a bar
 

baflat

Registered
Hi,
I find the info quite useful, and would like to visit the relocated art gallery. Would you be so kind to give me the address?
Thanks,
Gabriel
 

steveinbsas

Registered
Thanks so very much to Ries for your post! The information you provided is really great and I also see that I need to elaborate on my first post.

Ries said:
As an artist, I have to say that judging art by price alone is not gonna buy me many Bife de Chorizo dinners at La Cabrera.

I am sure there are cheap places to buy art, and if you find work you like, go for it.

But there is a lot more to art than pricing it like you were EASY.
OKAY, being sarcastic is EASY (I should know)! But seriously, I need to add that the gallery owner I "know" prices his art based on his costs, including overhead, which just got A LOT LOWER as a result of closing the gallery on Arroyo. He never priced art higher because he thought UNSUSPECTING foreigners would still find those inflated prices "cheap" compared to the price of art in the USA. As I previously wrote, he caters more to Argentinians who already know enough about Argentine art not to pay too much.

The recently closed gallery on Arroyo featured works by artists whose works are in the permanent collections of major Argentine museums (MALBA, Museo Quinquela Martin, Museo Bellas Arts). They include Jose Luis Menghi, Carolina Muchnik, Jose Murcia, and others. Also featured were paintings by an 80 year old Argentine artist at prices 30% LOWER than in his studio!

And now the prices are even better.

If anyone wants to tell their friends that they paid more than they needed to just to make an impression, that is crazy. It might be helpful to know that Argentine art is far more expensive in the US than it is here. I know one Argentine artist whose prices START at 10,000U$S in the states, but her works wouldn't even fetch $3000 PESOS here!

Ries said:
If you are really interested in Art, with a Capital "A", I heartily recommend you go to the next ArteBA, at La Rural, which is in May.
http://www.arteba.org/arteba.htm

There, you will see some of the best, but not the cheapest, of argentine art. And other south american countries as well- in the cheap booths, in the back, this year, there was a great gallery from Peru, and another bunch of kids from Columbia that were really interesting. There is Blue Chip Porteno art, featuring the work of painters you see in Malba, as well as all kinds of young people trying crazy stuff out.
I did not see any paintings of cablecars, though..
Actually, I have been to arteba the past three years. I was not impressed by much of the "contemporary" art...only by the "Blue Chip" Argentine art which was created by artists you will find in the national museums. At arteba those paintings were priced in thousands of dollars...and tens of thousands of dollars.

Ries said:
The opening night is an incredible party- a champagne company sponsored it, and they were pouring literally thousands of bottles, free- somebody started making a sculpture from discarded plastic champagne flutes, and it quickly reached 2 meters tall. Lots of interesting people, a lot of artists, great clothes and people watching.
Wow, a sculpture of plastic glasses...the epitome of modern art! (see, I can be sarcastic, too.)

Ries said:
Then, there are monthly gallery nights, in various neighborhoods.
The Recoleta galleries are a bit stuffy- mostly selling stuff you imagine is furnishing grand apartments near Alvear, inhabited by wealthy old ladies with lapdogs and furs. But its a fun evening.
San Telmo gallery night is a bit younger in feel, both in terms of the galleries and the people.

I always try to hit the non-profit spaces in BsAs as well- locals tend to take them for granted, but very few countries have as good a network of state sponsored galleries showing risky contemporary art.
Centro Cultural Recoleta, up above Buenos Aires Design, PROA in Boca, and the Borges Cultural Center above the shopping mall on Florida- any north american city would be happy to have ONE of these. They all often have great shows.
The old central post office downtown has started having shows as well- I saw a great show there in the spring by the Catalan artist Miralda, about the food of Argentina.
Of course, there are the main line art museums on Liberatador as well. Malba, Museo de Arte Moderno, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano, and so on.

Personally, one of my favorite art sites is Museo Xul Solar, in Barrio Norte-
http://www.xulsolar.org.ar/
Its a hidden gem- an incredible building, which is like an Escher print inside, filled with the amazing work of Xul Solar. Its tucked away in a residential neighborhood, and even a lot of Porteno's don't know about it, but its well worth a visit.
This is really great information. Yes, the Museo Xul Solar is wonderful, but how many folks have the ability to pay $75,000U$S (or more) for one of his works? BTW, I happen to have a "lapdog" myself: a long haired Chihuahua. Five years ago they cost 300U$S in BA. Now they cost 5000U$D. Why? A few high profile Argentine "celebrity-babes" now have them. If they started collecting the works of Carolina Muchnik, for example, her paintings would skyrocket in price as well. I love them AND they are still "cheap" here .

Ries said:
Looking at art is free. Yes, a few museums charge, but its balanced out by the free champagne on gallery nights.
And the more art I look at, the less I am satisfied by low prices and generic paintings.
There are some incredible artists in Buenos Aires, and many of the young ones sell for very reasonable prices.
Free champagne can make any painting a lot more attractive (at least until you sober up). Perhaps the booze is free because then it is EASY to sell the art.

I'm not suggesting that anyone buy any work of art because it is CHEAP. Obviously, they should buy it because they like it, but certainly never under the influence of alcohol. Some of the "contemporary" Argentine art at arteba made me want to vomit (lots of blood and dismembered bodies have that effect on me).

Of course if good art is also REASONABLY priced that is the best of both worlds.

This IS truly an upside down world, especially when it come to the price of art in Argentina compared to other goods:

For example, in Argentina, a Kitchen Aid stand mixer sells for more than $2500 pesos (they're occasionally on sale for $199U$S at Macy's in the US.) In Argentina you can buy a museum quality painting for less than $2500pesos...IF you know where to shop.

I am always happy to help anyone who is interested in buying Argentine art. I will also help with the paperwork to export the artworks...without any charge...ever.
 

Ries

Registered
Steve, I am sorry if I came off sarcastic- it was not my intent, and I really DO like to eat at La Cabrera.
And I do make my living selling my artwork.

I can see, looking at your blog, that our respective tastes in art are a bit different.
Which is not to disparage what you like, in any way.

The great thing about art is that there are so many different artists, each with his or her own way of looking at the world, and none of the is RIGHT or WRONG.

All have equal validity.

Me, I come to BsAs for the amazing architecture and I am a particular fan of early 20th century ironwork, being a blacksmith myself. And BsAs has a world class treasure trove of the stuff.
But my tastes in art also run much more to the wildly contemporary, and I LOVE stencil graffiti and street art.

Luckily for both of us, both of our tastes are accomodated in Buenos Aires.
 

steveinbsas

Registered
Reis, there is no need to apologize! I wasn't offended. Obviously I like the classic art more than the "wildly contemporary" but as a friend of many years once said, "There is no accounting for taste."

I still like paintings of Parisian street scenes, but I've grown to like the streets of Argentina as well. I also like "early California" art, especially the landscapes, and find many Argentine painters of the early 20th Century of equal quality. Fortunately, their works sell for vastly lower prices and I am able to afford them. Being surrounded by fine art is a remarkable experience.

I could not agree more with what you wrote:

"The great thing about art is that there are so many different artists, each with his or her own way of looking at the world, and none of the is RIGHT or WRONG.

All have equal validity."

What is REALLY interesting to me is that you are a blacksmith! My FAVORITE Argentine artist, Jose Luis Menghi was also a metal worker.

Menghi painted "sweet" scenes of La Boca when La Boca was not such a sweet palce to live. Even now, one of his paintings hangs near one by his mentor, Fortunado Lacamera in the Museo Quinquela Martin in La Boca.

There was a WONDERFUL collection of about 45 paintings by Meghi exhibited at arteba03!

In my own words, "Everyone smiles when they see a painting by Jose Luis Menghi."

Yes, the works of Menghi, Lacamara, and Martin are as different as night from day compared to today's "wildly contemporary" artworks.

And yes, thankfully, there is a place in this world for all of them.
 
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