Skip to content
Who's in the Video
ARTnews Executive ditor Robin Cembalest is an award-winning investigative reporter who has published articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and El Pais, in addition to many[…]

Does nationality dictate taste in art?

Topic: Art as Cultural Indentifier

Robin Cembalest: I think the large question, the larger subject is that they are using this art to assert the cultural identity in a different way. So perhaps, the Russian collector who has a lot of money who is deciding to buy Warhol is making a statement by putting Warhol in his house, because you walk in and that is a valuable picture, that is an Andy Warhol and in fact that is what affects the value of the pictures and we did a story ones about says on Picassos. Say you have a painting by the same artist from the same year, more or less in the same condition. What makes one millions of dollars more than the other one and the answer is that they are iconic, so, in another words you have Cezanne [Phonetic] with apples, he is famous for apple, it actually cost more than the Cezanne with oranges. That people want the collectors, okay, they want people to walk in the door and say “That is a Cezanne, that is a fabulous sexy Picasso of his misters,” these are the reason a lot of people are paying this much money is to get this kind of wall affect from the pictures.

Question: Does nationality indicate a certain taste in art?

Robin Cembalest: Well, there are trends. I think the interesting trend in Latin America is that in fact up to say 10 years ago, the Brazilians were buying Brazilian art, the Mexicans would buy Mexican, the Argentines were buy Argentine and now what you are just beginning to see and its recent is this kind of Pan Latin American interest were in fact there is collectors that are buying Brazilian, Mexican, Argentine, Peruvian, whatever it is that is new in Latin America before. I think this is the same case with the Russian collectors, may be before the Russian collectors were buying Russian, the fact that they beginning to buy western and that all this stuff is integrated into the same collection is what the trend is.

Recorded: 1/14/08