Martin Valach

Martin Valach

What is your professional background?

I completed studies of economics and information technology. I started my career in IT as a technician and worked my way up to the position of the CEO of a medium-sized company. Subsequently, I worked for three years as the director but also a trainer in the Czech company GRO which developed business and managerial skills. I joined the UK insurance company Commercial Union as the Director of Education and left it four years later as the Commercial and Marketing Director. Subsequently, I worked as the Business Director in Česká pojišťovna for four years. In the German company AWD, I worked in the positions of the Commercial Director and the CEO for eight years. I spent the last four years as the CEO of the Switzerland-based company Swiss Life Select. I was the co-owner of the still operating brokerage firm Satum Czech. I started and sold the consulting companies AVA and MEV 3000.

What role did art play in your past?

I began to perceive art 17 years ago when I bought my first painting. Today, I know that the painting was not exactly great. But I liked it and I still have it. I gradually devoted more and more time to art. I tried to understand it better, to better perceive what role it plays in the lives of people. I visited state as well as private galleries, museums, art fairs. I read about art and talked about it with experts and laymen. I personally got to know collectors, artists and gallerists. Art gradually surrounded not only me but also my loved ones, my family and children. I perceived how it benefited our souls but also how pleasantly and „beautifully“ we increased the value of our property. I wanted to convey such joy to others. I started organizing art events with the possibility to invest in art for clients and employees of the companies I managed.

Why did you decide to dedicate yourself to art?

All my life I was lucky that I loved my job. I regard it as a great privilege because my father, for example, did not have it that way. In recent years, I was becoming increasingly aware that I was significantly happier in the field of art than in the field of classic financial and investment management in which I had been active in the past 23 years. Art makes people happier. It enriches, soothes and rouses at the same time, and is a pleasant way how to invest reasonably. Activities in the field of art support the culture of the nation, strengthen its identity, perceptiveness of beauty and horror, and of the needs of the surroundings. Art collectors, along with institutions are patrons of artists who can create thanks to this patronage. At the same time, art represents an interesting economic segment. Even half of these reasons would be enough for me to dedicate myself to art.

How does your previous career link to Art Lines?

For years, I was engaged in investment and assets management. Investing in art has always been one of the options. However, there were never as many truly professional opportunities in this area as I needed for my clients. The market practically did not offer a systematic approach to creating and developing investments in art. And when it did, then only to “big“ collectors. An artistic investment portfolio can be structured in the same way as a classic one. The basic difference is the very limited risk of loss of value. The biggest risk is slower growth than we would wish. In case of well-established authors, slump in value is virtually impossible, although liquidity is usually not split-second. And then, there are wonderful bonuses: the investment is constantly in front of our eyes and within reach, it makes our life more beautiful and, together with development of the property, we invest also in our souls and the souls of our children. I am convinced that investment in art is not only efficient but also reasonable investment whatever side you perceive it from.

What is your role in Art Lines?

Especially in the field of investment in art and in controlling creation and management of these portfolios. Thanks to my executive past, I am involved in managing our projects in the Czech Republic as well as abroad. I am pleased to present our services to clients, partners and institutions. As a collector, I understand the needs of our clients and partners well. I keep in my memory what it was like when I bought my first painting, sculpture, artistic jewel, and how my collection originated, but I also remember my job responsibilities at the time, my priorities and the amount of time spent managing a large company. I understand uncertainties of the clients and remember well where I made mistakes at the beginning and why, and what role in my mistakes was played by gallerists and art vendors. Particularly because they lacked a more comprehensive view of creating property. I realize where we can help and where we should not be in our clients‘ way. I am not and I do not want to be a typical gallerist. I am and I probably always will be primarily a manager, investor, economist, fan and art collector who is surrounded by experts. 

What do you see the added value of Art Lines in?

Art Lines partners are art lovers. Long-standing collectors with successful careers in business. Rich knowledge and a team of experts represent a great, unique background. But the essential added value is the sense of understanding the needs, wishes and feelings of our clients. 

In art, we see significant cultural, social and aesthetic value. At the same time, we make full use of its investment potential in the context of the client’s total property and family strategy. Our experience in the area of economics, finance, risk elimination, investment, law, taxes, marketing, PR, commerce and management bring comprehensive approach from which our clients benefit. Art is thus not only beauty but also efficient, tax-optimized investment with controlled risk, and particularly with growth in value and resolved intergenerational transfer.

Art can also simply become a marketing and PR tool that can support both internal and external communication of the company. We are accustomed to think systematically, comprehensively and in context with regard to the needs of our clients and the growth of their family property. We have the advantage of financial freedom that gives as a long-term strategic perspective.