your money, your life, your choice ・ Harvard invests in water

‘Because we believe its physical products are going to be in increasing demand in the global economy over the coming decades,”

Harvard Management Co., the Harvard University endowment manager, likes the natural-resources asset class.

In a warming planet, few resources will be more affected than water, as droughts, storms and changes in evaporation alter a flow critical for drinking, farming, and industry.

Even though there aren’t many ways to make financial investments in water, investors are starting to place bets.

“Buying arable land with access to it is one way.

“In California’s Central Coast, ‘the best property with the best water will sell for record-breaking prices,’ says JoAnn Wall, a real-estate appraiser specializing in vineyards, ‘and properties without adequate water will suffer in value.'”

The Harvard Management Co. has, since 2012, been buying agricultural land, with rights to sources of water, on California’s Central Coast. The idea was pitched to Harvard by agricultural investment advisory firm Grapevine Capital Partners LLC, founded by Matt Turrentine, formerly of his family’s Central Coast grape-brokerage business, and James Ontiveros, a local vineyard manager.

Harvard’s investing guidelines say respecting local resource rights are of increasing importance ‘in the coming decades as competition for scarce resources, such as arable land and water, intensifies due to increasing global population, climate change, and food consumption.’”

Investors who see agriculture as a proxy for betting on water include Michael Burry, a hedge-fund investor who wager against the U.S. housing market was chronicled in the book and movie ‘The Big Short.’ In a 2015 New York Magazine interview, Mr. Burry was quoted as saying: ‘What became clear to me is that food is the way to invest in water. That is, grow food in water-rich areas and transport it for sale in water-poor areas.'”

In California vineyards, the water-proxy math is compelling. When grapes are harvested, about 75% of their weight is water. Owning vineyards effectively turns water into revenue.”

Kat Taylor, an environmentalist and wife of hedge-fund billionaire and liberal activist Tom Steyer, resigned earlier this year from Harvard’s board of overseers in protest of the endowment’s investments in things such as fossil fuels and water holdings she says threaten the human right to water.

‘It may, in the short run, be about developing vineyard properties,’ she says of Harvard’s California investments. ‘In the long run, it was a claim on water.'”


Harvard Amasses Vineyards – and Water. A bet on climate change in California gives it agricultural land and the rights below it,” Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal, 11 December 2018

In Drought-Stricken Central California, Harvard Hopes to Turn Water Into Wine,” Eli W. Burnes and William L. Wang, The Harvard Crimson, 13 April 2018

Michael Burry, Real-Life Market Genius From The Big Short, Thinks Another Financial Crisis Is Looming,” Jessica Pressler, New York Magazine, 28 December 2018

your money, your life, your choice ・ the painting that did not sell

The painting that did not sell.

While there may be a well-established “cartel of taste” (see Anna Louie Sussman’s article “Why You Can’t Always Buy a Work of Art Just Because You Have the Cash,” @artsy, 12 December 2018), market stakeholders can and sometimes do display independent judgment.

Gerhard Richter’s “Schädel” (oil on canvas), the first of a series of eight skull paintings painted in 1983, was held in the same collection for 30 years after a last public exhibition in 1988.

Based on a photograph taken by Richter himself, the painting demonstrates a “dialogue between painterly abstraction and photo-realist representation that had been simmering across separate stands of Richter’s practice for nearly two decades.”

This painting led the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale held at Christie’s London on 4 October 2018.

With an unpublished estimate, the painting was expected to sell for between £12 and £18 million (US$15 – US$23 million).

Bidding reached £11.5 million. The painting was not allowed to change hands.

Note also the instance of Edward Hopper’s 1972 painting, “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” that sold at Christie’s in New York on 15 November. It closed narrowly, at what may have been a precisely agreed threshold of $80 million – with what appeared to be Christie’s bidding against itself to reach the sales price.


Why You Can’t Always Buy a Work of Art Just Because You Have the Cash,” Anna Louie Sussman, Artsy, 12 December 2018

Seen for the first time in 30 years: Gerhard Richter’s ‘Schädel’ (‘Skull’),” Christie’s

Gerhard Richter ‘Skull’ to Headline Christie’s Sale in London,” Fang Block, Barron’s, 4 September 2018

Rare Richter’s a Bust, but Christie’s Moves $25.9 M. Bacon, $21 M. Fontana at London Sales,” Judd Tully, Artnews, 4 October 2018


Zao Wou-ki’s “29.01.64” (oil on canvas, 1964)

abstraction | a kind of inner imaginary landscape

The grand and bold “29.01.64” (the date of its completion; oil on canvas) sold at Christie’s Hong Kong in May 2017 for $19.7 million, then an auction record for the artist, “to bidders who clearly wanted this picture.”

Zao Wou-ki (1920-2013) moved to Paris from Beijing, where he was born, in 1948, began working with New York dealer Samuel Koontz (who encouraged him to experiment with larger formats) in 1956, and took a larger studio in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris in 1961.

Christie’s Paris’ specialist Clara Rivollet highlights the very complex composition:

“There’s actually a structure of very deep, black brushstrokes an then you can see around a kind of dilute-ink-wash-like oil around it and then on top of it he adds a whole network of intricate lines.

“You have very controlled sinuous lines that remind us of Chinese calligraphy. But also this very kind of loose movement in white paint is very inspired by Jackson Pollock’s painting.

“The painting could be a Western painting because it’s abstract. But actually in its essence it remains very Chinese because for Zao Wou-ki abstraction always represents a kind of inner imaginary landscape like the Chinese literati painting would do.”

“29.09.64”, at 230 x 345 cm. (90 1/2 x 135 7/8 in.), is one of the two largest that Zao painted in the 1960s.

It was purchased directly from the artist in 1969 by a French architect who built hospitals, research centers, and administrative buildings throughout France and Algeria in the years of rapid modernization following World War II.

“29.09.64” remained in the family’s collection for 48 years. The original owner’s son consigned the painting to Christie’s.

In an early 2017 exhibition, New York gallery Lévy Gorvy paired the works of Willem de Kooning and Zao Wou-ki. A little boost to the market?



  1. An inner, imaginary landscape: Zao Wou-ki’s ‘29.09.64,” Christie’s
  2. Contemporaries: Voices from East & West / Asian 20th C. and Contemporary Art,” lot 4, Christie’s HK, 27 May 2017;
  3. Zao Wou-ki’s 29.09.64 Sets Record in Hong Kong with $19.7m Sale,” Marion Maneker, Art Market Monitor, 29 May 2017.



#art #artmarket #zaowouki #arthistory #contemporaryart #postwarart #paris #france #newyork #abstraction #abstractexpressionism #jacksonpollock #literatipainting #songdynasty #oiloncanvas #inkonpaper #calligraphy #hongkong #beijing #berlin #vienna #milan #dubai #algeria #africa #realestatedevelopment #architecture #design #luxury #christie’s #LévyGorvy

art, real estate, luxury, & billion-dollar storms | the new normal?

The superstorms and wildfires of 2017 cost the US $306 billion.

As the temperatures of the oceans rise, the increasing temperatures will increase how strong hurricanes can become.

As global temperatures continue to rise, things will get more costly.

The new normal?

There are proactive steps you can take to protect and enhance the value of your tangible assets.

See: “Billion-Dollar Storms: Is This the New Normal?” | Deborah Acosta, The New York Times, 29 January 2018

#art #artmarket #collections #collectionsmanagement #artrisk #insurance #insurancerisk #realestate #commercialrealestate #culturalrealestate #realestaterisk #GRESB #GlobalRealEstateSustainabilityBenchmarks #climaterisk #financialrisk #CO2 #resilience #luxury #smartluxury


magic that can be created through space & art | Victoria Hagan

“Tapping into the magic that can be created through space and art,” Victoria Hagan highlights the “extra layer of depth, texture, color, and mood” that Old Masters’ paintings bring, as members of the family, into contemporary homes.

See: “Award-Winning Designer Reveals the Magic of Old Masters” | Sotheby’s

#art #collections #collectionsmanagement #interiordesign #VictoriaHagan #OldMasters #luxury #smartluxury #realestate

Paris floods | the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, & the Musée de l’Orangerie launch their Plans de Protection Contre les Inondations (PPCI)

The Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Musée de l’Orangerie have each launched their Plan de Protection Contre les Inondations (PPCI; protection plan against flooding). The Musée du Louvre has closed the lower level of its department of Islamic Arts until Sunday (28 January) as a “preventive measure” from flood damage.”

See: “Rising River Seine causes closure at Musée du Louvre” | Anna Sansom, The Art Newspaper, 25 January 2018

#Louvre #MuséeduLouvre #Muséed’Orsay #Muséedel’Orangerie #art #artcollections #collectionsmanagement #risk #riskmanagement #Paris #flooding #PPCI #PlandeProtectionContrelesInondations #museums #resilience #luxury #smartluxury #CO2 #realestate #culturalrealestate #design #engineering

art, risk management, & “rolling disasters” as the new normal

There is worry in the insurance industry that “rolling disasters” may become the new normal, the effects of climate change that many scientists believe have resulted in dryer conditions in the west coast and more intense hurricanes in the east coast. “Climate change is a great concern to the art insurance industry, particularly because of the hurricanes we are seeing,” Quinn said. Both AXA and Chubb are active in promoting research in climate change, recognizing that catastrophic natural events may prove to be an annual occurrence.

Insurers are concerned especially over works of art in private homes.

Insurers in areas such as California may seek to limit their risks. The extent of the damage in regions of California affected by the recent wildfires, for instance, may well increase the cost and limit the availability of fine art insurance.


As Natural Disasters Loom, What You Should Know About Insuring Your Art” | Daniel Grant, The Observer, 18 January 2018

#art #artmarket #collections #collectionsmanagement #insurance #fineartinsurance #climaterisk #risk #riskmanagement #fire #wildfire #hurricanes #flooding #risingseas #luxury #smartluxury #resilience #realestate #CO2 #H2O

global investment in renewable energy & energy-smart technologies

Annual figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) show that global investment in renewable energy and energy-smart technologies reached $333.5 billion last year, up 3% from a revised $324.6 billion in 2016, and only 7% short of the record figure of $360.3 billion, reached in 2015.

Chinese investment in all the clean energy technologies was $132.6 billion, up 24% setting a new record. The next biggest investing country was the U.S., at $56.9 billion, up 1% on 2016.

Solar led the way, as mentioned above, attracting $160.8 billion – equivalent to 48% of the global total for all of clean energy investment.

Wind was the second-biggest sector for investment in 2017, at $107.2 billion. Down 12% on 2016 levels.

The third-biggest sector was energy-smart technologies, where asset finance of smart meters and battery storage, and equity-raising by specialist companies in smart grid, efficiency, storage and electric vehicles, reached $48.8 billion in 2017, up 7% on the previous year and the highest ever.


Runaway 53GW Solar Boom in China Pushed Global Clean Energy Investment Ahead in 2017” | Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 16 January 2018

#cleanenergy #renewableenergy #energy #finance #solar #wind #energy-smarttech #tech #investments #luxury #smartluxury  #realestate #commercialrealestate #resilience #CO2




Southern California collections management: fire rescue & restoration

Fueled by seasonal winds and dry conditions, Southern California’s Thomas Fire has become the largest, in terms of acreage, since 1932 when reliable recording began. State officials are saying that the 2017 fire season has been the most destructive that people in state have seen.

As of the Vanity Fair December 20 publication of Jane Borden’s article “In Southern California, Even the Art Has a Fire Rescue Plan,” the Thomas Fire had destroyed about 800 homes, nearing Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Ojai, collectively home to the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, working artists, art collectors, and celebrities.

On the evening of December 4, artists living in Ojai had no time to pack up their work before evacuating. Those with studios in Ventura spent evenings sleeping beside their work.

Works from four collections were moved to purified, closed rooms at the MCASB.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, with van and crew ready at short notice, safeguarded works of art, valued at millions of dollars, retrieved from homes in the area.

The Conservation Center of Chicago is described as the “most prepared art-rescue team working in Southern California” during the fire.

As the air quality was rendered “really bad” by the Thomas Fire, teams from The Conservation Center rotated every four or five days. Works of art that were not damaged were stored in a safe location in Los Angeles. Works with minor damages were restored locally. More damaged works of art were shipped to Chicago for full restoration.

An industry leader in rescuing works of art after disasters such as fires or floods, The Conservation Center brings over 30 years of experience caring for individual, private, and public collections.

In addition to restoration and packing and shipping services, The Conservation Center in Chicago specializes in disaster response. The Center’s national clients include corporations, museums, nonprofits, and private collectors, and the response team is trained to triage a variety of situations, most notably flood and fire. This year alone, the 36-person team has responded to hurricane damage in Houston and Miami, and rescued or restored 1,350 works from a Georgia museum damaged by a tornado. Now, the fires. “I’ve been with the company for 29 years, and this is definitely unprecedented, to have these things happening so closely together,“ explains Heather Becker, C.E.O. of The Conservation Center.”


Thomas Fire is Now California’s Largest Wildfire in History” | Doreen McCallister, NPR, 23 December 2017

In Southern California, Even the Art Has a Fire Rescue Plan” | Jane Borden, Vanity Fair, 20 December 2017

The Conservation Center

#art #SouthernCalifornia #ThomasFire #SantaBarbara #Montecito #Ojai #MuseumofContemporaryArtSantaBarbara #MCASB #SantaBarbaraMuseumofArt #SBMA #conservation #rescue #restoration #artcollections #collectionsmanagement #CO2 #luxury #smartluxury #design #architecture #engineering #fireresistance #TheConservationCenter #Chicago #resilience #health #wellness#realestate #culturalrealestate #culturalheritage

energy efficient, living smart, developing a legacy, increasing sales

Maracay Homes, an Arizona homebuilding company and leader in the Arizona real estate industry, “providing homebuyers with smarter choices,” for more than 25 years, reports a correlation between EnergySmart, energy efficiency, and sales.

““We have outperformed our competitors because of the Energy Star and LEED component,” reports Maracay Marketing Manager Elise Goodell. “Realtors and prospects are seeing a lift in value, and they are willing to pay for the LEED certification…'”

The home construction company, headquartered in upscale Scottsdale, Arizona and serving the Phoenix- and Tuscson-area markets, correlates EnergySmart with LivingSmart in its entirety and the quality of life of homeowners together with legacy and better sales.

All homes constructed by Maracay are now Energy Star-certified.

Two years ago Maracay “beta tested” LEED certification on a small scale. Maracay understands LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to provide a more holistic analysis of home energy savings than Energy Star ratings and an educational requirement, on a small scale. The company is now integrating LEED on a large scale.

One essential element in Maracay’s educational campaign is an in-depth, locally produced video that includes interviews with potential (and actual) buyers and a walk-through of an under-construction Maracay home, hosted by D.R. Wastchak (DRW), a local Arizona energy efficiency rating company with a 17-year track record in the field and a list of credits that includes EPA ‘Partner of the Year.’”


Arizona homebuilding company finds success with energy efficiency” | Tina Casey, Inman, 29 December 2017

Maracay Homes

#homes #homeconstruction #buildingtechnology #sales #homesales #realtors #realestate #commercialrealestate #culturalrealestate #energy #energyefficiency #LEED #USGBC #EnergyStar #luxury #smartluxury #CO2 #Arizona #Scottsdale #Phoenix #Tuscon #MaracayHomes #resilience #art #collectionsmanagement#education #health #wellness #family