The demand for fine art masterpieces in Romania grew in 2009, as cash-rich investors took a different stance toward art, and saw it as a long-term profit-making machine.

Representatives of Artmark fine art auction house told Wall-Street that the annual average return of Romanian fine art market over the past 15 years has been 27.04%, bigger than the return yielded by stocks, commodities or real estate. In the first nine months of 2009, the average return was 39.92% (year-on-year), which equals an annual increase in return, amid financial crisis, of 6.8%.

“The outlook for 2010 shows no signs that the annual return will stand below year-ago levels or increase by more than it already has. 35% will most likely be what the final calculations for 2009 will return”, said Dan Tudor, coordinator of tudor-art.com project.

In this context, Artmark representatives, noticed that since 2008 investors look at fine art industry to make money, they want to learn more about the place they invest in, and constantly narrow their choices. The demand for artwork has increased; it is now focused on paintings of the national patrimony – masterpieces by Romanian artists, whose works are exhibited at the museums across the country and abroad – as well as on Modern art pieces.

The market is expected to touch record values next year. The market will continue to grow, but at a faster rate than in 2009, embracing the characteristics of the European art auction markets, a trend that will reflect in investors’ shift towards modern art. “For 2010 we expect an unprecedented development of this market segment”, Artmark representatives said.