Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Scoop Homes and Art 38 Contents 234 HOMES & ART SPRING 2013
A new era in antiques
A new era in antiques
n spite of the world’s financial woes,
Clive Brans feels the top end of the
international antiques market is only
Records are broken virtually every time
there’s a major auction of art and furniture,
he says, and Christie’s and Sotheby’s
have just recorded their best years ever.
Meanwhile, the Chinese market is booming.
Prices of Chinese items have soared in the
last few years as the Chinese buy back the
pieces they lost in the 19th century and
during the Cultural Revolution. In 2011,
China overtook the US as the world’s biggest
market for art and antiques.
Much has changed since Clive started
Brans Antiques and Art 38 years ago.
Economies and lifestyles have altered, as
have technologies and trends in art and
antiques, and Clive admits he’s handing over
the reins to his son John at the toughest time
he has ever seen for the industry.
Despite this, WA is seeing some notable
acquisitions. In the last five years, two of the
greatest Renaissance period tables that have
come on the market anywhere in the world
have both found homes here in Perth.
“In the 1950s and 60s it was a rich man’s
industry, and we’re going back to that
now. From the 70s to 90s, antiques were in
fashion. The late 80s and early 90s were the
high point. We could have an exhibition and
I’d stand at the door handing out piles of red
dots for people to frantically stick on items
and I’d go crazy with the invoice book.”
Whereas many of Clive and John’s best
clients started collecting when they were in
their late 20s, today’s property prices make
it prohibitive for young homebuyers to spend
money on furnishings and art. Meanwhile,
with design theft rife, it’s inexpensive to buy
good design in contemporary items, and the
furnishings sector has become just another
mass market of disposable goods.
It’s something of a surprise that Clive and
John say that technology has made business
harder in some ways. “Business used to
work on a food-chain hierarchy,” says John.
After nearly four decades
in the Australian antiques
industry, Clive Brans has
retired, handing the reins
to his son at a poor time
for the industry... yet he
still thinks there’s cause for
WORDS AND PHOTOGR APHY Georgina Barker
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