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Are you an art lover or -speculator?

The discussion about this is very old: are works of art bought as speculative objects or are collectors concerned about the art itself?


A new technology always attracts various groups of people:
Early adopters, visionaries, developers...
...but also speculators.
Speculators are interested in the quick profit - not in the artwork itself. 

How can they be detected as such?

Imagine a work of art that is self destroyed if you sell it. 


With the new NFT art series TULIPMANIA, artist Sven Sauer dares an experiment without knowing how it will end.


The large-format light and sound installation contains 5 digital works that show radiant tulip landscapes."Tulipmania" is based on the first documented speculative bubble of mankind. In the 17th century, the exotic plant gained a high reputation. It became a rarity, not least because of its susceptibility to disease.

Within a very short time, a tulip bulb was worth more than a family home in Amsterdam. But the bubble burst and the recession began. A few days later, the tulip trade in the Netherlands was banned by the king. The tulips are completely disappearing from the Dutch scene. 


The art market has also become a large-scale speculative business. Previously, it would have been unthinkable to express a purely economic interest in art. But today the question is asked more and more often:  "What will this work be worth in two years"; The speculator has joined the classic collector type. 

With his NFTs, Sven Sauer creates works that expose speculators. A self-destruction mechanism is built into the artworks by smart contract.
With every resale of the pictures, they destroy themselves a little.  With these works, the responsibility for a work of art is transferred to the collector.I
n this exhibition, the responsibility for a work of art is transferred to the collector.
The collector has to decide: Are they interested in the quick buck, destroying the work irrevocably - or do they want to preserve the artwork for later generations?

The technology of smart contracts makes it possible to document how this experiment will turn out.

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In the past, it would have been impossible to express a purely economic interest in art. But today, the question of what a work will be worth in two years has become increasingly commonplace.

Gallery owners are not at all pleased about this. 


The stock-character of the classical collector has been joined by that of the speculator. 

In the art world, these people are called "art flippers". 

The tone of the trade magazines about art flippers is almost universally ominous. The word is considered a swear word. 

"Flipper" is a term borrowed from the financial markets, where it refers to short-term investors who buy shares only to sell them again very quickly at a high profits. 


The art market, like the stock market, is highly emotional.

It can happen very quickly that artists who are targeted by speculators are "burned" after a short time and can no longer be sold. 

And that is indeed a very real problem...


How does this happen?

The art market actually consists of 2 markets that exist parallel to each other.

The "first market" is, to put it simply, the gallery through which artists sell their works to collectors. The proceeds (earnings) are divided between the artist and the gallery and finance their work, studios, working materials, etc.

And there is the "secondary market" where a large part of the annual art turnover takes place. These are mainly auction houses through which collectors offer the artworks they have previously acquired in the galleries for release. 

This creates an imbalance for the artists, as they are not included in these resale transactions. It can happen that artworks are sold on for several million euros, while the artist is unable to finance their own studio. The fairness of these two markets has been subject for discussion for decades.


Art flippers thus add a factor that can threaten the existence of artists:

Through rapid speculation artists see the market flooded with their works at auctions until prices collapse, which can lead to a loss of confidence in the art world and a chain reaction of deacquisition.


Galleries protect their artists from art flippers by selling only to selected collectors who they know will hold the artworks for several years.

They also spend enormous sums of money to prevent the artworks from appearing at auctions. Usually by buying them back from the market themselves.

In the case of large galleries, collectors sometimes have to sign complex contracts in which they undertake to grant the gallery the right of first refusal in the event of a sale.

However, this is not always successful. 


Can you imagine having a tool that exposes art flippers?

Like a protective shield pulled over the artwork.

Tulipmania hast given access to/has implemented/has introduced such a tool as an experiment, without knowing how it will turn out.

You want to see it live? 
register for the Newsletter an get the Code for the special day 18th of nov. 

Thank you for the registration. 

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