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A dunce, a trickster, and a savior

Bumelant loves art.

We are sure that many of you art aficionados out there have asked the question: “What does it take to become a respected and trusted figure in the exciting world of art trade?” We here at Bumelant surely did. Do we need specialized education in art history from one of the world most prestigious education institutions? Do we need years of experience in the world of art and cultural artefacts? Do we need impeccable taste developed by a lifetime of exposure to masterpieces of world finest artists? Well, none of these worked for us. Certainly not to the extent where we could make forty million overnight on a shady art deal. And yes, this post continues the triptych dedicated to the amazing story of a dunce, a trickster, and the Salvator Mundi. Today we focus on the trickster.

Alright, so if you don’t need to go to Oxbridge or dedicate your life to art in order to achieve the heights of infamy required to consort with oligarchs, what do you need? What do you need Mr. Bouvier? Apparently, not much. Dropping out of college and dedicating yourself to transportation business are all the credentials necessary to make a certain rich man write you a 127.5 million check without asking any questions. Yes, you heard it right. Before you drop out of college and find yourself the nearest moving company, however, consider who your parents are. It would be a great advantage, for example, if your parents owned the company, preferably the one that’s more than a hundred years old and deals with moving various sorts of valuables. Oh, we didn’t mention that, did we?

So here he is, a recent college dropout Mr. Bouvier starting his work at a well-reputed transportation company. It’s only a rock throw away from there to come up with the idea to also provide storage space for safekeeping of highly-valuable assets, including precious works of art (read: making a vault where not even your grandma is allowed to step in to hide art of uncertain provenance from public scrutiny). These spaces were called “freeports” in some weird pirate reference that we don’t really understand. Arrrrr, matey! The history of freeports is a topic of its own with a track record of allegations of money laundering, storing looted art, and tax avoidance. If one of you future maverick archeologists out there is looking for the Ark of the Covenant, the Florentine diamond, or the Holy Grail, we highly recommend checking one of these facilities.

Mr. Bouvier obviously didn’t know anything about any of these irregularities — anything at all. What he did know, though, was the kind of art people transport and store in the facilities his company operates. And here it is, an elusive component of success: information. Our esteemed founder, Art de Bumelant always said, “Information rules the world”. And Mr. Bouvier had information aplenty. In fact, this whole affair, involving the da Vincis, the Picassos, and the van Goghs is nothing more than an apt manipulation of information for the profits of those who hold it (we are looking at you Mr. Bouvier).

Imagine you are an oligarch or a drug lord (an enticing thought, isn’t it?) and you are looking to protect your capitals by some of that art world investment, which also makes you look sophisticated in the eyes of international tax evasion authorities refined lasses and lassies. You can’t just walk into a museum and throw a briefcase full of money on the table. Alas, you have to have to debase yourself by dealing with the intermediaries, like Yves Bouvier. Who knows what the world’s super rich store in their secretive vaults? Who knows for how much they are willing to part with their prized possessions? Who knows if you’ve been good or bad? Hint: it’s not Santa Claus, although he could probably use the money. So, here it is, the grand secret to riding the wave of highly lucrative art deals (and to pretty much everything else in life): get yourself the right parents and the world shall be yours.

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