Accueil > 999, Artprice, Demeure du Chaos / Abode of Chaos, Revue de presse > Exclusive interview with Thierry Ehrmann, the Founder and Ceo of Artprice.com

Exclusive interview with Thierry Ehrmann, the Founder and Ceo of Artprice.com

Boursica.com: Could you remind us of how Artprice was created?

Thierry Ehrmann:
It was first of all an enormous amount of collective work involving incredible art historians. In just 14 years, we bought up almost all the editorial funds in Europe and the USA and now we’re working on Asia. This covers art publishing houses, art editorial funds worldwide and assets representing over €30 million.

You should know that through the Serveur Group that I founded and is Artprice’s parent company (which specialises in judicial, juridical and scientific databases), we have been on the Internet since 1985 and we were therefore able to prepare and identify our key targets when we arrived on the art market in the 90’s.

BOURSICA.COM: Who were these targets?

Thierry Ehrmann:
The targets were legendary firms such as the Enrique Mayer Guide (1962/1987), the famous Dictionary of Art Sales 1700-1900 by Doctor H. Mireur, the leading American company, Sound View Press, with nearly 50 databases in the USA (1991), Franck Van Wilder editions (1970) the Swiss company Xylogic, the world specialist in Art Market price indices (1985), the Bayer database on the Anglo-Saxon art market from 1700 to 1913, Caplan’s Monograms and Signatures, a world reference work (USA – 1976), L’Argus du Livre de Collection et des Manuscrits (France),a world reference work (1982); and the list goes on… And we bought them all.

For the past 14 years, we have also had a systematic policy of purchasing manuscripts and catalogues, mainly from 1700 to 1970 from the world over. We had no choice but to buy this historic knowledge, otherwise we could not have standardised the art market with certainty nor obtained perfect traceability of works of art and correctly allocated them to the artist’s biography.

We have gone well beyond the millions of hours of work by historians, research workers and journalists in the art market, who have documented and written on all the works taken from these manuscripts and catalogues, particularly from the 17th century to date. This is why we now have the largest database of information on the market in the world, which allows us to trace works of art over the centuries, with 108 million images or engravings of works of art from 1700 to date, commented by our art historians.

It is not without reason that Artprice enriches its databases from almost 4,500 auction houses in real time and publishes trends on the Art Market continuously for the main agencies and 6,300 press titles worldwide. Every day, without paying a single cent, we are present in the world press with our copyright and our Internet address. What more could you ask in terms of reputation and communication?

BOURSICA.COM: Could you continue with how Artprice was created?

Thierry Ehrmann:
To get back to how it all started, we went back to the very beginnings of the art market, which was practically born in around 1700; it was only from that period that artists began to truly break free from commissions from the Princes of the Church and the Realm to finally produce works of art in response to demand. We can consider that It was at this time that the art market was born, in the economic sense of the word.

For the past 14 yearsn we’ve had experts and dealers working for us worldwide and as soon as they get their hands on manuscripts, they inform us and we buy the manuscripts and catalogues. We’ve bought so many that we’ve more or less achieved a shortage; at the outset we bought them at very high prices and then gradually the pincer technique has come into play and the latest are now bought every year at very reasonable prices. This fund is unique in the world and we open it up, with prior authorisation on our part, to researchers from the world over.

BOURSICA.COM: So what is your added value on this documentary fund?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Our work on the Artprice databases is really like mining work, every day we have to go down into the mine, and we’ve being doing it for the past 15 years. In the years 2000 we reached a figure of over a hundred employees, whereas now there are just 45 of us because all the work is now in the databases. The number of employees has been divided by three and the number of servers has been multiplied by nearly 30 over the past decade. To standardise the art market we had to create the definitive inventory of works of art and the biography of hundreds of thousands of artists from the 4th century B.C. until today, sometimes with hundreds of homonyms to each of which the right works have to be attributed.

BOURSICA.COM: How do you produce your reference prices since a painting is by its very nature unique?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Take for instance, a work of art identified in 1850, it goes from auction house to auction house over decades. We’re therefore certain that it is indeed the same work of art and we know its price and yield year after year. That’s why we are the only company in the world to have a perfect econometric method for all works of art. In econometrics, its called the repeated sales method, because we’re working on a homogeneous market. Others calculate arithmetic averages, using the method of comparables, but this leads to errors because their studies involve a heterogeneous market.

BOURSICA.COM: How have you been able to get around this problem in such little time?

Thierry Ehrmann:
That’s why, in 2000, we bought the famous Swiss company Xylogic for a small fortune, a company of scientists who had created all the algorithms and price indices for the art market since 1985. We are the only ones to have, 10 years later, these gigantic databases (over 700 terabytes) in our own computer rooms, with nearly 900 servers operating on our own fibre optics, which we own. We do not depend on any IT services company, which explains why our developments and R&D are so fast and our IT expenses so low.

What’s very important for Artprice is that we have succeeded in building up the largest collection of annotated manuscripts and catalogues in the world. This colossal documentary fund has been entered on our expense account (income statement) using a precautionary principle, something that is very good news for our shareholders who have a balance sheet that does not reveal these assets which are, of course, significant.

We add new data to our databases every day from the world over. We have bought up Anglo-Saxon, Chinese and Dutch databases, without which we could not work, even if we put the best art historians on the development, they could not get the same results. For example, for a Dutch painter called Dick Van, an extremely common name in Holland, it is impossible, without our databases, to be certain that we’re talking about the same artist and his works.

BOURSICA.COM: What do you reply to those who ask "why does everyone go on Artprice?"

Thierry Ehrmann:
Quite simply that we don’t have any real competitors because we’re the only ones who manage over a million biographies including artists who are not yet listed and 108 million images or engravings of works of art. Even someone who doesn’t really like Artprice can but search our databases for any artist who is not yet very well known, or is even totally unknown. The same goes for a rare work of art that requires authentication.

People only see the tip of the iceberg of Artprice, but Artprice is above all an enormous amount of work in the background, I even wonder myself how we’ve had the strength to do it! Passion, I believe, is the only rational explanation after all these decades…

BOURSICA.COM: Is the money raised on the stock market, along with funds from the Serveur group and the Bernard Arnault group behind the success of Artprice acquisitions?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Yes, but only in part, because you should know that a cheque book is not the only thing needed to acquire these documentary funds; we’re talking about famous Historians and Authors, infamously ill-tempered, who in some cases had received mind-boggling offers, but the financial aspect was only secondary to these people. We had to persuade them of the importance of our project, as was the case with Frank Van Wilder and Peter Hastings Falk, for example.

These databases represent the wealth of Artprice and, as a precautionary measure, here again our balance sheets do not reflect the true value of our assets, which are truly significant. That is also a source of wealth for our shareholders for the years to come. IRFRS standards do not allow us to give the true value of our company, whence the stock market price which, as if by chance, is much closer to the truth; the Market is very seldom mistaken in over 10 years of continuous listing, as has been the case for Artprice.

BOURSICA.COM: How do you manage reproduction rights for works on line?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Reproduction rights for the work is assured by the specific contract we have signed with the ADAGP, the most representative company in the world, which receives and distributes royalties in over 43 countries. This agreement was a real precursor (2007) in the digital economy and is regularly used as an example by the various different Ministries of Culture in Europe and particularly in France. There again, Artprice has taken the lead over any possible outsiders.

BOURSICA.COM: Would it be possible to create another "Artprice"?

Thierry Ehrmann:
No, absolutely not. Everything is protected under intellectual property laws. Amongst other things I’m trained as a lawyer in literary and artistic property and in the 90’s I was also the instigator of a lobby that aimed at protecting databases in Europe, which then became the "Sui Generis" law, the European law equivalent to what is known in the USA as software patents.

To put it simply, anyone, even someone willing to invest several hundreds of millions of euros, would be prosecuted and forbidden from building up databases or an Artprice Standardised Marketplace, and sentenced for counterfeit and fined in proportion to the investments made, in addition to a ban on using their databases.

Therefore a possible competitor would need to have not only a very large amount of funds available, he would also have to be able to reinvent ergonomics and a structure entirely different from Artprice’s. By analogy, and simplifying the example to the extreme, you could say that we have protected the fact that a car has round wheels; an adversary would have to dream up a vehicle on tracks or on a rail, which as you can imagine is an extremely big obstacle to overcome.

BOURSICA.COM: How are you sure you will do auctions?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Over 80% of Auction Houses worldwide draw up their catalogues based on our data; in real time they use the artist’s biography, prices and indices, and the work traceability, in order to estimate the starting price. Between 2001 and 2003, we spent 2 years calling and visiting 3,600 Auction Houses and 7,400 experts. This marketing and engineering study was extremely expensive in terms of world travel and staff expenses. The Auction House world was devoid of any databases; at best Auctioneers had available Word or Excel files. Still today some of the world’s greatest Auction Houses do not have any computerised databases.

BOURSICA.COM: How is it possible to be so behind, in terms of computerisation and the Internet in 2011?

Thierry Ehrmann:
It’s just crazy. That being said, an old IT rule says that the greater the power or knowledge of a profession or social body, the more it disdains or ignores IT until the day it is forced to give in to the its customers’ demands. In this case, Artprice has arrived in the nick of time. Our professional clients are highly captive and return to us over the years. That’s another proof of our professionalism to our shareholders.

Using our intranet an auction house can produce its paper and Internet catalogue very quickly, and at the same time promote on the standardised Artprice market place its future sales with just a click of the mouse. It can, for example, electronically promote a contemporary sale including 63 different artists to our 1.3 million clients, only those who follow and research these 63 artists (or even certain specific periods of the artist concerned). This is the "killer application" every Auction House has dreamed of, whether large or small, even those who have spent fortunes in advertising and marketing campaigns. For a prestige sale, advertising and marketing can represent up to 70% or 80% of an Auction House’s expenses, whereas with Artprice it will cost them only 4.5%.

BOURSICA.COM: Why have you chosen the Abode of Chaos as Artprice’s headquarters, is that provocation or strategy?

Thierry Ehrmann:
It’s neither. The world of the Abode of Chaos is inseparable from the history of Artprice and of the Serveur Group, a historic Internet pioneer since 1985, the two of which have their headquarters in the heart of the Abode of Chaos. La Demeure du Chaos / Abode of Chaos, dixit he New York Times, was conceived by me in 1999, it feeds on the alchemy of chaos of our 21st century, both tragic and sumptuous, the embers of which came into being on September 11, 2001. It is almost the same age as Artprice, give or take 3 years.

Today, with over 1,890 reports in the written and audiovisual press in 72 countries in just 12 years, it has become a "Factory", an essential Museum, unique in the world, according to the international art press. It’s an open-air, free-entry museum, presenting over 3,627 works, welcoming 120,000 visitors every year. Every time the world art press talks about the Abode of Chaos, Artprice is of course mentioned.

How could one build Artprice out of nothing, an almost-mythical company which sources 90% of the world press on art market information, without being oneself, body and soul, an artist who is passionate about the history of art? You can’t imagine the number of visitors to my Museum, now number two in Lyon in terms of the number of visitors, who are Artprice clients or shareholders. Every year we hold our annual general meeting at the Abode of Chaos and all we’ve been given are encouragements for the past 10 years.

In terms of clients, and particularly world art galleries, they are extremely aware of working with Artprice, whose founder has been registered for over 25 years with rights holder companies as a sculptor. Take a look at my entry in Who’s Who and you’ll understand. I have lots of work on show worldwide. You should be aware that the art world is highly sensitive and, in the 90’s certain purists saw Artprice, with its indices, prices and statistics, as a group that did not understand the sensitivity of their world, not to mention the fact that we were listed on the Stock Market. But with the Abode of Chaos these same purists have become our most loyal customers. That’s the real answer to your question!

BOURSICA.COM: How would you value Artprice?

Thierry Ehrmann:
For nearly 120 years, according to the comparables method, the value of an Auction House in the world is 80% the client file, at between $800 and $4,000 per client and 20% the Auction House’s name, if it is well known. To understand the difference between one client valued at $800 and the other at $4,000, understand that the price is based on the strands of information we hold on the end customer.

BOURSICA.COM: Could you be clearer, with a specific example?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Let’s take the example of a sale by the sculptor Arman (1928/2005). You could define a degree 1 ($800) with the Auction House who tells you, I’ve got 4,500 clients who buy new realists like Yves Klein, César, Arman or Nikki de Saint-Phalle etc…. Degree 2 would be that the Auction House tells you that it also has clients who buy only Arman sculptures, in the knowledge that he is also a painter and a photographer. But the ultimate offer, the one that only Artprice can offer to date, is degree 3 where one can offer the 4,500 clients in the world who are looking for Arman sculptures on the highly specific theme of "organic waste". Within this context, holding this final information is the absolute Holy Grail for Auction Houses or Dealers. Because they can be certain that bids will reach a maximum. One can therefore presume that degree 3 is value in the upper bracket, at around $4,000 per client.

This is the oldest method of valuing an Auction House. The great value of Artprice is that, for a sale, we can find collectors throughout the world who, by their presence, will double or even triple the selling price of a work of art. In a catalogued sale for a well-known artist, new collectors from the other side of the world can double the sale and, in this respect, Artprice is the only company to hold details of these famous collectors, in 210 different countries.

We can state without any difficulty that we currently have on Artprice 100% of those who count in the art market, the great dealers, the great collectors, all the Auction Houses and Experts, the hard core, those who make and unmake prices, known as market-makers. They are all systematically clients of Artprice.

BOURSICA.COM: Even your critics are on Artprice?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Even our fiercest critics use our data. We have 1,300,000 clients, you can consider that value is made according to the level of research of clients. The more clients who are looking for something specific we have, the greater the value of these clients. We are certain of offering the narrowest search criteria. The narrower the search, the more the client is in a position to increase prices at auction and therefore this client is all the more interesting for the Auction House.

We have an extremely complete client file with over 18 billion logs, respecting the demands of the CNIL and European and American authorities, which enables us to know exactly what our clients own or are looking for. Putting things into perspective I really believe that this is currently the best method by which to valorise an Auction House because it is 120 years old and is still up to date, tried and tested thousands of time over, worldwide.

BOURSICA.COM: What will be the level of commission you earn on the transactions?

Thierry Ehrmann:
We are very competitive because intermediation is at 37.5% according to the Voluntary Sales Council, which is the AMF of the art market, whereas we will be at between 4.5% and 7%. We will be better than a bank for a gallery. We will take 4.5% for the transaction and, in addition, between 3% and 4.5% on the hire of the client file we have just talked about, which will enable Auction Houses to target potential buyers better, because we put into contact with the Auction House people looking for Arman works and, better still, offering them the "Arman Organic Waste" period customers, for example. Similarly, commission will be 4.5% on private sales.

BOURSICA.COM: Is Artprice ripe for a takeover bid?

Thierry Ehrmann:
A hostile takeover bid is impossible due to the fact that the Serveur Group controls the Artprice capital, on the other hand a friendly takeover bid, why not, if it is logical in terms of the industry, notably with an auction house listed on the Stock Market, we would think about it.

To better understand Artprice, its reference document or annual report should be consulted, those are real gold mines in terms of sensitive information and are really up to date and detailed.

BOURSICA.COM: Does Artprice have any competitors?

Thierry Ehrmann:
No, that’s stated clearly in the report, because everything is protected under intellectual property law. We only have, within a different perimeter, the company Artnet which achieves in volume in one year on the stock market, the same as we achieve in a week. Artnet is not in the same business as we are, it is listed only on a non-regulated stock market and its accounts are not audited. We see it as a luxury host site which does not own its own production tool. Also, it has not always respected copyright law in a certain number of countries. In addition it’s had its brand Artnet snatched due to lack of vigilance by over 18 different depositors in 21 countries, some of which are major countries…. Finally, its rates are outrageous, with a limited number of requests per month, something which was done on the Internet at the beginning of the 90’s. We consider that, in order to be world leader, you have to implement an extremely aggressive pricing policy, like Dell, which I see as a model and which has thrashed the world of PCs and Servers.

BOURSICA.COM: Is Artprice abusing its dominant position?

Thierry Ehrmann:

No! Your question contains the answer, what is punished by the competition authorities is the abuse, not the dominant position, we haven’t refused any sale, our prices reflect the reality of our costs and investments and we have no selective sales policy, but above all we are the original authors of all the products and services offered by Artprice, offering a new and innovative approach. Some people have attempted to make this claim, but their cases have been systematically dismissed.

To take the market fairly but aggressively, such low prices would be necessary that a hypothetical competitor would immediately be operating at a loss since they would not have done like us and paid for all the investments over a 14 year period.

The proof of this is that during the period 2000/2010 no competitor arrived on the scene, on the other hand countless numbers of art sites have gone bankrupt and closed down due to lack of traffic and therefore, turnover; Every week we get about ten requests for buyouts of brands, websites or DNS but they are absolutely of no interest to us, with the exception of some highly specific micro databases in emerging countries.

BOURSICA.COM: Did you try and buy out Artnet?

Thierry Ehrmann:
We were asked three times to buy out Artnet, but it was of no interest to us, at the risk of being subject to a large number of lawsuits. As for the brand, in view of the fact that it is not registered worldwide we would have been immediately caught up in intellectual property conflicts with the other owners of Artnet, who are in their own rights.

BOURSICA.COM: It would appear that other DNS can access the Artprice databases…

Thierry Ehrmann:
Yes, of course, such as for example Artmarket.com. We have 1,800 DNS which are generics around the Art market in 9 languages. If you type Artmarket into Google, you get Artprice as number 1 in ranking thanks to the DNS Artmarket.com. We registered the entire semantic at the beginning of the 90’s, in order to address the art market.

Some of them are worth their weight in gold today because there are generics in the purest state, such as Artmarket, but we refuse to sell them.

BOURSICA.COM: Do you have any new clients?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Yes, we get new clients every day and we realise that the average age of our customers is increasing because we have people who discover the Internet, to such an extent that we have to help them in their navigation on the site, and on The Internet in general. We have a policy of going to seek out new clients, wherever they are, and accompanying them on Artprice. This clientele is called, amongst other things the "silver surfers", as defined by the giants in marketing as being surfers with silver (grey) hair, in other words, Seniors (over the age of 55). Similarly, we are seeing more and more young collectors, with an average age of 30/35 years, whence the phenomenal success of the Artprice Smartphone subscription. The Art Market has indeed increased worldwide from 500,000 collectors just after the war to a current total of almost 300 million art-lovers, collectors and professionals, whose favourite hunting grounds are the Internet with the market going virtual, notably with Artprice’s normalised market place. And the Asian continent has created an explosion in the Art Market, in terms of market players.

BOURSICA.COM: How is Artprice’s financial health?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Unlike the vast majority of listed companies, we do not have a single cent in debt. No bank overdraft, short, medium or long term loans, no financial instruments to reimburse such as BSA and other derivative products… That’s what very often amazes the AMF!! We also have a good cash flow and negative working capital requirements.

I should point out that I am deeply hostile to any increases in capital which not only dilute shareholders but also, and this is often forgotten, prevent a listed company from seeing its price rising very rapidly. Proof is that Artprice has about 4 million shares in circulation. If we were like most of the companies on the regulated Eurolist, there would rather be between 20 and 40 million shares in circulation and we would have increased by only €2 or €3 in 2 months, whereas we have gained €22 for a volume processed in 45 market trading sessions of around €250 million.

BOURSICA.COM: With the volumes we have seen, why hasn’t the declaration threshold been crossed?

Thierry Ehrmann:
According to our latest TPI enquiry and estimates, we have increased from 18,000 shareholders to a possible estimate of around 27,000 shareholders. In 2010 81% of our clients were Artprice shareholders. This is a proof of security because they know almost everything about Artprice, sometimes they’re the ones who identify targets for us to buy or give us ideas for improving our databases.

BOURSICA.COM: What about the Chinese funds?

Thierry Ehrmann:
For them the notion of crossing a threshold is not one they understand, they enter through a multitude of accounts, which enables them to remain under the threshold limit. We have made conference calls to fund managers, 2/3 of whom are in Hong Kong. I’ve never seen that before and it’s certain that they are not buying for French customers.

BOURSICA.COM: How long do you think it will be before the legislative course is completed for the Law on the liberation of auction sales?

Thierry Ehrmann:
It’s a question of weeks, at most. It should be pointed out that in less than 45 years France has moved from 1st to 4th place in the world, with China now in first place, followed by the USA in second place and the United Kingdom in third.

Also, the Drouot scandal has weighed very heavily. Every week we come across consequences of that business, investigations have only just begun. I suggest you read the book "Adjugé Volé" (“Auctioned and Stolen”) by Michel Deléan on this matter. 39 investigations have already started. The government would appear to have decided to go all the way, knowing that Drouot represents 45% of the French art market. We have exasperated the Europeans with adaptation of this directive into domestic law and there is enormous pressure on France. It’s an affair of the State, with a risk of colossal fines being imposed by the European Court of Justice. Moreover, the French Art Market Authority, the CVV, considers that it would be suicidal for France to go for a minimal reform and after the injunctions from Brussels it is highly likely that the matter will go before the ECJ very soon.

We were the first to draft the code of law, the Code des Ventes Volontaires et Judiciaires in 2000, which has now become the reference amongst French auctioneers. It’s the only book (1800 pages) which refers to the first reform of 2000 and its non-application. That reform of 2000 was a gigantic farce because Auctioneers have remained with their monopoly of 1535 with, amongst other things, the obligation of requesting an authorisation for each sale.

In cases where this was given just a few days or even a few hours before the sale it proved a real obstacle to free movement of products and services in Europe, particularly for auctions of works of art on the Internet.

We have all the factors for success. The process has been definitely endorsed. The train of History is on its way and we are in that train, which nothing can stop now. We only had to be very patient and determined against this monopoly which has lasted almost 500 years, by following the way of the legislative cross for 10 years.

BOURSICA.COM: Why haven’t you moved away?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Because the cost of going would have been greater, not to mention other incidences such as communicating in a foreign language, a new stock market, physical moving of all the system, the staff, etc.

BOURSICA.COM: What have you got to say about the ISF (tax on fortune)?

Thierry Ehrmann:
That’s a very serious subject. It’s the UMP parliamentary block that has made this proposal. Their analysis is to set up an ISF that targets only indisputable latent capital gains. I don’t necessarily agree with it, I do not believe that it is the right solution but parliamentarians have understood that Artprice enables them to say to collectors that there is an exact gain for the works of art they own. On the other hand, clearly this will be good for the Artprice marketplace because people can benefit from remaining anonymous, with Artprice protecting the identities of both buyer and seller. This is not possible in actual auction sales rooms. We noticed that the number of creations of virtual portfolios by our clients exploded on the day the announcement was made and during the ensuing hours, to simulate the price of their collection.

BOURSICA.COM: Can we be thinking about rapid transition to the SRD Long Only?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Maybe in September, it’s up to the Euronext scientific committee to decide, but clearly we exceed the entry criteria.

BOURSICA.COM: Have you backtested your system for future on-line auctions?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Yes of course we have. We have carried out beta tests abroad and everything is operational. Auction Houses are already linked up to our Intranet for catalogues. For the marketplace I think there will be 80% Auction Houses and professionals and 20% collectors and individuals. As soon as the law is passed our best clients will be the Auctioneers. They say themselves "we can only do it with Artprice". They let the Internet train pass them by at the end of the 90’s and then again in 2005 and now it’s too late and too expensive. The show has already sold out.

BOURSICA.COM: How far has Artprice penetrated the Chinese market?

Thierry Ehrmann:
In order to succeed we have acquired lots of Chinese databases, otherwise it would have been impossible. We have had the extremely diplomatic help of the Chinese authorities; we had to have it because Chinese Auction Houses are partially controlled by the government. The cultural affairs department in China helped us to show that China was first in the world art market. We have Chinese staff in Lyon, it took us 4 years between the moment we decided to go for the Chinese market and the moment when we became operational.

BOURSICA.COM: Did you have any difficulties in becoming world leader? You’re sometimes criticised for your procedural attitude?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Yes, and I take 100% responsibility for it. We’ve had to face 126 law suits in 14 years in several countries, particularly brought by distributors of price list books which we had bought from the publishing houses and who wanted their share on The Internet, we have also had disputes with the numerous counterfeiters of Artprice, for whom we have zero tolerance. We have won 117 of these cases, including all the main ones. Such as those against the 5 French Auction Houses, some of which are with Drouot actually, they all refrained from going to the Appeal Court, except Camard whom we are prosecuting. The cases we lost were against third parties who had no impact on the life of the company, its accounts or its objectives. Christie’s World is one of our greatest victories.

BOURSICA.COM: Can we hope for a dividend in the near future?

Thierry Ehrmann:
Yes, I think in 2013/2014 according to our forecasts. Before that I think we will have enriched our shareholders quite considerably through the share price. First we will increase equity in order to finance the servers and other very expensive equipment we require to enable us to develop worldwide with maximum security. Remember that we are the only ones to own our own machine rooms. We are considered as Internet pioneers in France. The Serveur Group was the first French provider and the second in Europe according to Time Magazine. The wealth created for our shareholders will be such in terms of the share price that they can’t have share and dividend to begin with! Particularly since we have never increased our capital.

BOURSICA.COM: What will be the impact of the change of status after the law on the annual turnover figure?

Thierry Ehrmann:
It will absolutely explode! Growth will be colossal.

BOURSICA.COM: Can we consider that at €30 we are only at the beginning of the story?

Thierry Ehrmann:
It will be noted that the price is returning to the levels reached in 2005/2006 when we started to talk about transposing the Services Directive. €30 is only the very beginning, a simple return to the level before France began its 5-year exasperation of Europe with its pathetic attitude. If we want to think about this seriously, we can only start with a basis of €67, which was the top price reached. We have kept all the commitments included in our introductory prospectus. We are even well above the commitments made in the 1999 prospectus. €67 was the market price when the standardised market didn’t exist. We therefore have the right to expect, quite logically, a start price that will be positioned above €67. "Price seen, price re-seen" is a very old stock market rule.

BOURSICA.COM: And to end with, what is your prediction for the future of Artprice?

Thierry Ehrmann:
With regard to our commitments, which at the time were very ambitious on the 1999 introductory prospectus, we have met them all, well beyond the prospectus actually, coming through the 2000 NASDAQ crisis, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the 2003 war in Iraq and the big financial crisis which began in 2007 and which is far from over. With this decade, which has been the most catastrophic in the past two centuries, I know of only very few companies listed on the regulated stock market which have come out alive, without increasing their capital and which, during this same period, have acquired an undisputed world-leader position. To close this interview, I sincerely believe that we have only seen 10% of the history of Artprice.

Source: http://www.artprice.com (c)1987-2011 thierry Ehrmann

Discover the Alchemy and the universe of Artprice: http://web.artprice.com/video/

Artprice is the world leader in art market information with over 27 million auction prices and indices covering over 450,000 artists. Artprice Images® offers unlimited access to the largest database of art market information in the world, a library of 108,000,000 images and engravings of art works from 1700 to the present day. Artprice continuously updates its databases with information from 3,600 international auction houses and provides daily information on art market trends to the main financial press agencies and to 6,300 press titles worldwide. Artprice offers standardised adverts to its 1,300,000 members (member log in) and is the world’s leading market place for buying and selling works of art (source: Artprice).

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The Art Market in real time by Artprice on Twitter: http://twitter.com/artpricedotcom/

Contact: Josette Mey – tel: +33-(0)478-220-000, e-mail: ir@artprice.com

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