Art history in the making: Mills & Reeve advise on first artwork traded on new stock exchange

Leading national law firm Mills & Reeve has advised on the $55 million IPO of a masterpiece painting on the world’s first art stock exchange, Artex.

The artwork, ‘Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer’, was painted by Irish artist Francis Bacon in 1963. It was sold at auction in May 2017 for $52 million. The painting is a triptych and shows Bacon’s lover, Dyer, from different angles in three paintings side by side. It's a series of five Dyer portraits and was offered to investors at share price of 92.20 Euros, valuing the piece at $55 million.

Artex, which was co-founded in 2020 by art enthusiast Prince Wenceslas of Liechtenstein, operates a secure and liquid art shares exchange, regulated by the Financial Markets Authority of Liechtenstein. Its launch is designed to make art investing more accessible in a traditionally exclusive fine art market, by allowing people to buy shares for as little as $100.

Artex aims to democratise investing in artworks from the world’s greatest masters, spanning a period from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Artex-listed masterpieces will be on public display in museums and exhibitions around the world.

Prince Wenceslas said: "We are very proud to announce the success of this final step towards the trading of a work of art, a first in art history. The strong interest shown by qualified investors over the last couple of weeks is a major mark of confidence in our new regulated and accessible art focused multilateral trading facility."

Mills & Reeve partner Michael Aubrey, who led the team advising on the deal, said: “It's a privilege to advise on the listing of the first masterpiece painting on Artex. Investing in fine art has, until now, been out of reach for many investors and Artex will allow more art lovers to access the market and own a piece of historic artwork.”

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