Re: Argentine art appreciation


Jul 6, 2008
I wonder if there are other members (expats or tourists) who have an interest in Argentine art and might like to get together for the purpose of learning more about Argentine art and going to museums and galleries in Palermo, Recoleta, and Retiro. I remember a post in one of the forums by a member who was frustrated by the inattention he received in BA art galleries, and I know from my own experience how he was treated. Though I've also been ignored in some of the galleries, I did find a rather impressive one that has a nice (English speaking) staff and they even offered me a 30% discount (from posted prices) when I said that I lived here. I returned there with another expat that I met through this forum and they offered him the same discount, ostensibly because he was with me. (Neither of us bought anything and they were still nice.) The gallery actually has more paintings on display than the Museo Bellas Artes and we learned more about Argentine art there than in the museum (where no English tours are offered). Some of the galleries on Arroyo and Aranales also have great examples of "museum quality" Argentine art and are worth a visit, but I was only offered a 10% discount in one gallery.

If anyone knows of any special exhibitions or events (like arteba or gallery nights), please add to this topic.
The typical mark up here is 300% of what the artist gets so 30% discount is no big deal to the gallery. Transport back home can be a little tricky too.
The "markup" ghost referred to actually results in a 66% gross profit margin, but it was clear to me that most of the artists in the gallery that offered the 30% discount are already deceased. Some of these artists' paintings are also exhibited in the museums here. Even if the gallery paid $1000 for a deceased artist's painting (at an auction or estate sale) and then marked it up to $3000, the discount would result in a net price of $2100 which is just over a 2X markup or 50% gross marginal profit (about normal for retail), but there is no way of knowing exactly how much they paid for any single painting. The gallery that offered me the 30% discount also included completing the required (tricky) government paperwork in the price. A few of their artists were on a list that were prohibited for export, but they were also far too expensive for me to consider buying in the first place. I can still appreciate their work as I continue to shop for something within my budget. In general, I have found original art, including works by "listed" artists here to be far less expensive than in Europe or the States. I personally know one very successful Argentine artist who sells her paintings in the US for three to five times more than they would sell for at retail here.
Pablo Picasso's exhibition: private gifts to his barber. June 27 - July 27, 2008. Tuesdays - Sundays 14 to 20 hrs.

Address: Av. de Mayo 575. Phone 4329-9669.
This past weekend I went to San Telmo for the first time in several months. The small gallery/antique shop where I bought several dozen paintings in the past year was closed, but the owner was inside. He recently lost the lease when the building was sold. His shop was small, but the two upper floors were filled with art--including crawl spaces where it was necessary to use a flashlight. Though he was preparing to transport the remaining inventory to a vacant apartment, he let me go through everything (hundreds of paintings, watercolors, and drawings). I took digital photos of well over 100 oil paintings and "reserved" them (along with some water colors and drawings) through the end of August. The prices are about a third of retail (or less) than other galleries in BA for works by the same artists (Lumerman, Menghi,Venier, De La Fuente, etc). I now have just about all the art I need for my apartment here and I will take 30 more paintings to the US in September. The shop owner's son helped me get the required papers for the group of paintings I took to the US last year, and can do so for anyone who wants to do the same. There is no export tax on the art leaving Argentina and no duty on art entering the US.
If anyone is interested in seeing the photos (on a disc) and then the artworks in person, just send me a note.
I now have the photos of all the paintings from San Telmo and today I took a group of them to my apartment in Barrio Norte. I only enjoy going to San Telmo on Sunday, but the owner of the paintings isn't there on weekends. Anyone who would like to meet or a coffee, see the pics, and then go to see the paintings if desired can send me a note. They are all original oils and watercolors by well known Argentine artists and the price range is $300 to $3000 : most are $600 or less. Galleries in Recoleta and Retiro have paintings by the same artists for 3 to 5 times more. There are also drawings and unsigned watercolors for $100-$200. All prices are in pesos. Yes, I get something if anyone buys a painting: a credit toward the paintings I want to buy, but it doesn't add anything to the price anyone else pays. The owner of the paintings is still a licensed business and will provide facturas (legal receipts) . He also has the proper forms necessay to take art out of the country. It is possible and safe to pay with a credit card.
Several individuals who contacted me through my posts on this topic have encouraged me to post links to blogs I recently created, even though they are far from complete at this time.The paintings on these blogs are not part of the collection from San Telmo that I wrote about above, but you can get a good idea of my "eye for art" by seeing the paintings in the blogs. There are still many paintings from San Telmo that are available. This week I brought home a box of over a hundred watercolors and drawings, and 30 oils, mostly by Malamfant. I'll try to add some of them to the blogs this weekend, but anyone who is interested should really see the paintings in person.
The web address is:

If you click on "view my complete profile" you can see works by individual artists in the other blogs, some of which are still under construction and don't yet have any paintings. The one with the most paintings is the next couple weeks I will be adding more photos to the blogs, and I'll be completing the paperwork to take a group of paintings to the US in September. I will be happy to help anyone who desires to do the same.
Saludos, artlover