An encounter with Picasso

by Steve Van Derodar

Picasso Art | Photo via Steve Van Derodar

In my twenties, I found myself lucky in having had the opportunity to visit a few of my clients abroad even when, at times, those trips were not purely for business; that is, I have made a combination of leisurely visits with business. As an international property specialist offering Philippine properties, part of the joys of the job is getting to know more of my Philippine-investing clientele. It could also include getting to know their interests and family life.

Traveling to London, England, in the Spring of 2010 had me visit my extended family and made a way to visit a few clients. While seated in my client’s living room, a huge painting welcomed me, and since I was not that familiar with paintings, I kept mum talking about it. Still, I couldn’t help being totally impressed with it. My client, in an effervescent voice, said, “do you know who you are staring at?” I said yes, and with approval, she submitted, “Yes, it’s Picasso.”

Admittedly, I haven’t been to an actual Picasso painting before, especially that vast canvas was unusual when almost an entire living room’s wall was about the Picasso art complemented with gigantic porcelain jars. It was a bit of a shock to see their lifestyle, especially that it was the only time I met them again after purchasing a property from me four years ago.

“Admittedly, I haven’t been to an actual Picasso painting before, especially that vast canvas was unusual when almost an entire living room’s wall was about the Picasso art complemented with gigantic porcelain jars.”

I understand the rarity of seeing a Picasso in anybody’s living room, especially to link that a Picasso masterpiece fetched more than $179 million smashing the world record for the most expensive art sold at an auction. Not that theirs is not that expensive, I was thrilled to have had the privilege of sitting down with them and was received warmly. We would talk over the phone or through their personal assistant and discuss concerns with the property on several occasions. Spending a lovely London afternoon with them was such a delight.

Such meetings humble me, and seeing overseas clients in their respective homes or business offices made me feel fulfilled in my chosen career. I am ever surprised how international our reach is and how successful our clients are across the world, and yet they are the humblest ones.

Four years prior, we just met at a mall in Makati City. With the brochure I had with me, I engaged them in a conversation on development in the area. Few steps later, I was able to bring them to the model unit. The model units offered them the prospect of a high living being that the project is part of the mall complex. In all honesty, I seem to think that the model units’ irresistible appeal largely makes the deal. To add, the spectacular panoramic views in daylight and nightlight bring the imagination to the fullest. Like art, the interiors, elegant proportions, and overall aesthetic touches are what command price.

They intended to purchase the property as their vacation home in the Makati and perhaps an investment to call. The location is extremely desirable, walking distance to the best hotels in Makati such as the Shangri-la Makati, Renaissance Hotel, Manila Peninsula Hotel, etc. What more if I tell you that the development is connected to the mall via a private bridgeway access? Such is a gem, and a real investment find!

Perhaps, like art, their appreciation for Manila property is for a long-term investment for profit as it would appreciate its value. The property was one of the best performing buildings when it was built, and at a pre-construction, they posted price increases a few times before actual delivery. When clients like them invest in Picasso art, it’s no wonder that they also invest in a building considered as one of the most prestigious residential buildings in the Philippines.

“Admittedly, I haven’t been to an actual Picasso painting before, especially that vast canvas was unusual when almost an entire living room’s wall was about the Picasso art complemented with gigantic porcelain jars.””

Few comparisons I could make, as experts recommend art investment for patient investors with a time window of ten years or more. A condo property in high zonal value presents maximal yields. The appreciation of the property in ten years is considerably high, as evident in high capital gains or the assessed market value of the properties. Truth be told, expensive paintings can really be that profitable, but only a few do with passion, and they have to be that super expensive to begin with. Also, many factors affect the value of a painting, such as quality, condition, authorship, etc.

On the other hand, with real estate property, the developer’s brand equity, track record, and quality are also paramount considerations affecting value and its continued appreciation. It’s almost unbelievable how prices have gone up over the years in business districts alone and even in key areas within Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

One thing is true too with real estate. Investors’ attitude tends to collect them like art. Repeat buying experience supports the notion that owning a property is definitely a key to success or wealth. Owning Picasso art (and maybe by distinct interest) is another too.


(Stevenson’s experience in Philippine Real Estate spans more than15 years. He has been involved in horizontal, vertical, vacation, and commercial properties. He has worked as an International Property Specialist to markets in Asia, Europe, and North America with Ayala Land, Federal Land, and Century Properties. Through PhilHouseHunters, he offers real estate investment opportunities, marketing, and consultancy with a key focus on Metro Manila and Mega Cebu areas. Visit www.philhousehunters.com. Email atderodarsales@gmail.com.)

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