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War, Inflation, Monetary Reform and the Art Market

  • Geraldine David


    (Universite Libre de Bruxelles)

  • Kim Oosterlinck


    (Universite Libre de Bruxelles)

During World War II, the art market experienced a massive boom in occupied countries. The discretion, the inflation proof character, the absence of market intervention and the possibility to resell artworks abroad have been suggested to explain why investing in artworks was one of the most interesting opportunities under the German boot. On basis of an original database of close to 4000 artworks sold between 1944 and 1951 at Giroux, one of the most important Art Gallery in Brussels, this paper analyzes, the price movements on the Belgian art market following the liberation. Market reactions following the war are used to understand which motivations played the most important role in investorsÕ decisions. Prices on the art market experienced a massive drop. This huge price decline is attributed to two elements: fear of prosecution for war profits and the monetary reforms set into place in October 1944.

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Paper provided by European Historical Economics Society (EHES) in its series Working Papers with number 0012.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0012
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  1. Kim Oosterlinck, 2009. "The Price of Degenerate Art," Working Papers CEB 09-031.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Ginsburgh, V. & Jeanfils, P., . "Long-term comovements in international markets for paintings," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1147, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Carmen Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia, 2015. "The Liquidation of Government Debt," IMF Working Papers 15/7, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Kim Oosterlinck, 2010. "French Stock Exchanges and Regulation during World War II," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/142702, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Fernando Mendiola Gonzalo, 2011. "Forced Labour in Franco's Spain: Workforce Supply, Profits and Productivity," Working Papers 0004, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  6. Pesando, James E, 1993. "Art as an Investment: The Market for Modern Prints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1075-89, December.
  7. Kim Oosterlinck & Filippo Occhino & Eugene N. White, 2006. "How occupied France financed its own exploitation during WW2," Working Papers CEB 06-012.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Filippo Occhino & Kim Oosterlinck & Eugene Nelson White, 2008. "How much can a victor force the vanquished to pay? France under the nazi boot," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/142695, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Javier Silvestre & Vicente Pinilla & Mª Isabel Ayuda, 2011. "The Labor Market Integration of Migrants: Barcelona, 1930," Economic Reports 02-2011, FEDEA.
  10. Ginsburgh, Victor & Mei, Jianping & Moses, Michael, 2006. "The Computation of Prices Indices," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Elsevier.
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