:: A R T :: C U L T U R E :: C O U T U R E :: f i n a n ce :: T R A V E L :: g our m et ::
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أﺑﻮ ﻇﺒﻲ،أﺑﺮاج اﻻﲢﺎد ﻟﺘﻌﻜﺲ ﺣﺎﺿﺮ،ﺑﺘﺄﻟﻖ وﺷﻤﻮخ ﺗﻌﻠﻮ أﺑﺮاج اﻻﲢﺎد اﳋﻤﺴﺔ ﺳﻤﺎء أﺑﻮﻇﺒﻲ ٍ ٍﺣﺪاﺛﺔ .ورﻗﻲ وﻓﺨﺎﻣﺔ ﻣﻦ وﲡﺴﺪ أروع ﻣﺎ ﻓﻴﻬﺎ،اﳌﺪﻳﻨﺔ وﻣﺴﺘﻘﺒﻠﻬﺎ ﱟ
،ﺗﺘﻤﻴﺰ أﺑﺮاج اﻻﲢﺎد ﲟﻮﻗﻊ ﺣﺼﺮي ﺟﺬاب ﻣﻨﻄﻘﺔ ﺷﺎﻃﺊ اﻟﺮأس اﺧﻀﺮ أﺑﻮﻇﺒﻲ ﻛﻤﺎ ﲢﻈﻰ اﺑﺮاج ﺑﺘﺼﻤﻴﻢ ﺑﺪﻳﻊ ﻣﻦ اﻟﺪاﺧﻞ واﳋﺎرج،ﺑﺎﻟﻘﺮب ﻣﻦ اﻟﻜﻮرﻧﻴﺶ اﳋﻼب ﺳﻮا ًء ﻛﺎﻧﻮا ﻣﻦ اﻟﺴﺎﻛﻨﲔ أو اﻟﻌﺎﻣﻠﲔ،ﻟﺘﻘﺪم أﺟﻮاء ﻏﻨﻴﺔ ﻻ ﺗُﻨﺴﻰ ﻟﻜﻞ ﺿﻴﻮﻓﻨﺎ ﲡﺮﺑﺔ ﺗﺴﻮﻗﻴﺔ ﻓﺮﻳﺪة أو وﺟﺒﺔ، أو ﻣﻦ اﻟﺒﺎﺣﺜﲔ ﻋﻦ إﻗﺎﻣﺔ ﻓﻨﺪﻗﻴﺔ ﻓﺎﺧﺮة،ﻓﻴﻬﺎ .ﺷﻬﻴﺔ ﺟﺪﻳﺪة
www.etihadtowers.ae ﻳﺮﺟﻰ زﻳﺎرة ﻣﻮﻗﻌﻨﺎ،ﳌﺰﻳﺪ ﻣﻦ اﳌﻌﻠﻮﻣﺎت 800 384 4238 ﻳﺮﺟﻰ اﻻﺗﺼﺎل ﺑﻨﺎ ﻋﻠﻰ اﻟﺮﻗﻢ،ﻟﻼﺳﺘﻔﺴﺎر ﻋﻦ ﻓﺮص اﻻﺳﺘﺌﺠﺎر
Your quarterly news update
09 New Beginnings
Sachin Patki, ADCB’s new Head of Excellency, tells us about plans for the wealth management proposition
12 ADCB launches sukuk
14 One to Watch
Nashwa Al Ruwaini, CEO and Founder of Pyramedia, on running one of the most successful production companies in the region
16 Kitchen Revolution
How chefs are working with chemists to create surprising new taste sensations
The bank raised a staggering $500 million in Islamic bonds Issue 19
19 Issue ::
Welcome Note I
26 Hotels with History 20 Camel Catwalk
Breeders displayed more than 20,000 camels at Abu Dhabi’s camel beauty contest
22 The Emerging World Order
Our favourite heritage hotels that combine modern luxury with old-world charm
32 Spacious Supercars
A review of three high-end versions of car models traditionally made for families
Emerging markets are catching up with, and in some cases surpassing, the economic old guard
34 Water World
23 Wealth Talk
36 Artful Dodgers
Mark Friedenthal, Head of Asset Management, ADCB, gives an introduction to emerging markets
A look inside Nurai’s water villas and beachfront estates
Have your eye on an expensive artwork? Here’s how you can avoid falling for frauds
Contact for ADCB: email@example.com
Editorial Editorial Director Philip Fenton Editor Melissa Sleiman Sub-Editor Salil Kumar Arabic Editor Kinan Shohof Design Advertising Photography
Creative Director Fredrick Dittlau Creative Director Carl Bergman Designer Mohammad Marei Advertising Sales Director Anuradha Basu Tel: +971 50 499 4983, firstname.lastname@example.org TH Bandula
Cover Image: Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies by Claude Monet
nnovation is the buzzword in today’s marketplace, describing the surprising ways through which we can enhance our lifestyle and out-ofthe-box ideas that are nothing if not mind-blowing. To celebrate that, this issue of Excellency takes a look at some of the ground-breaking achievements and inventions that have opened up our worlds to new experiences. A range of new investment trends can help make the most out of your money. Following the economic turmoil in the West, we are witnessing a clear shift towards a new financial world order in which emerging markets are catching up with, and in some cases surpassing, the old economic guard. Read more on page 22. Change is also taking place in gastronomy, with scientific solutions altering the way fine food is prepared (see page 16). Using state-of-the-art equipment, chefs are able to create taste sensations unlike any other. Innovation is not only about creating new solutions, but could even help people avoid making poor decisions. A range of art scandals that have caused shock and outrage across the world could have been avoided had scientific examinations taken place. In our feature on page 36, we describe how art collectors can avoid falling for a scam thanks to science and technology. Speaking of astonishing technology, what to think of the new car models that have transformed classical sedans into sleek, sporty yet extremely powerful vehicles? Read more about our experiences driving three of these luxurious cars in our page 32 review. Closer to home, innovation is something that constantly drives our work at ADCB. On page 9, Sachin Patki, who recently joined as Head of Excellency, tells us about the exciting plans for our wealth management proposition, which will further enhance the many opportunities we offer. As always, we welcome your comments on Excellency. If you would like to share your thoughts, please email us at email@example.com
Martin Scott Chief Marketing Officer ADCB
dig st Battle of titans
spirit of rivalry was alive and well at a thrilling end-ofseason match presented by ADCB. Zedan Polo became champions of the HH President of the UAE Polo Cup thanks to their star Argentine player Ignacio ‘Nachi’ Heguy, who claimed his third seven-goal haul of the tournament in a 9-6 score. “It was pleasing to see so many people here today,” said HE Saeed Bin Houfan Al Mansoori, Vice-Chairman of Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club. “We always try to make the sport of polo as accessible as we can and feel that, by throwing open our gates to the general public
Ghantoot (White shirts) vs British Army (Red shirts)
for our biggest events, we are promoting this historic sport to the people of the UAE. “The matches we have seen here confirm to me that polo in the UAE is going from strength to strength and I would like to thank our sponsors and the participating teams for making it such a memorable event.” Families visiting the ADCB Ambition Garden were treated to lots of exciting entertainment including face painting, a bouncy castle and garden games to name just a few. The ADCB Polo team even joined in the fun by posing for pictures with children and chatting to polo fans of all ages.
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Al Bateen Executive Airport, the Gulf ’s only dedicated private airport, announced a 12 per cent increase in aircraft movements in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010
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Mahmoud Said’s Petite fille d’Assiout
Sachin Patki recently joined ADCB as the new Head of Excellency. Here, he tells us why he decided to join and what his plans for the wealth management proposition are
ADCB Scoops Up Award
A time-honoured tradition
eading international finance magazine Euromoney has named ADCB ‘Most Improved Islamic Bank in the Middle East’ following the bank’s extensive rebranding of its Islamic Banking Division. The award was presented during the 2012 Euromoney Islamic Finance Summit in London, which brings together financial practitioners, academics, business leaders and policy makers in the industry to discuss various aspects of Islamic finance and banking. Amr Al Menhali, Head of Islamic Banking at ADCB, was “delighted” to receive the award. He said: “This prominent award recognises the leading position of ADCB Islamic Banking and its success in raising
the benchmark for Islamic banks in the region. “This recognition is subsequent to the milestone ADCB’s Islamic Banking Division has achieved in the Islamic banking business, which was acknowledged by the reputed worldwide Shari’ah governing body in an appreciation letter positioning ADCB Islamic Banking as a role model for Islamic banks worldwide.” According to Euromoney Editor Clive Horwood, ADCB’s Islamic banking unit has benefited from its rebranding. “The bank’s Islamic product-related deposits doubled in 2010, and in 2011 ADCB also issued a debut sukuk, further underlining the importance of Islamic finance for the bank,” he said.
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is the amount of foreign currency assets the UAE Central Bank had in June 2010. Holdings of foreign securities made up AED86 billion within that total.
A Ferrari for Your Living Room
ar enthusiasts love pictures of gleaming supercars. They also rather enjoy seeing them demolished – witness the extensive media
coverage of a 14-car pileup in Japan dubbed the “world’s most expensive car crash”. But, thanks to French designer Charly Molinelli, the embarrassment of destroying
Mightier Than the Sword
.T. Dupont pays homage to the tales of A Thousand and One Nights with a new limited edition collection. The exquisite items, of which there are just 1,001, recreate the dreamlike and marvellous world of the celebrated masterpiece of Eastern literature. The standard set is made from precious enamel in a deep midnight blue colour, rimmed with yellow gold, and consists of an ink holder, paper opener in the shape of a scimitar, fountain pen, display stand and lighter from Dupont’s Ligne 2 collection. For those looking for a bit more bling, S.T. Dupont has created two ‘diamond’ versions of the collection, with a lighter and pen in solid white gold. The lighter is set with 137 white diamonds of 1.841 carats and the pen with 129 white diamonds of 1.841 carats. These exclusive items are limited to 28 pieces each.
a motoring masterpiece can at least be turned into a unique conversation starter. After being approached by a buyer looking for a unique coffee table, he eventually discovered the wreckage of an F40 Ferrari, one of only 1,315 ever produced. “Finding a crashed Ferrari was not easy – as you can imagine it is not widely available. With luck and a lot of aid we were finally able to find a garage that had approved the use of one,” said Molinelli. Once found, the car needed to be further compacted into a suitable size. Molinelli decided to use other waste materials to go with the upcycling theme (using waste materials to create something even more valuable), building it with wood, cement paint and varnish.
eaving your finances in the hands of someone else can seem daunting, but at Excellency we aim to make the experience as personal and tailored as possible. Having recently joined ADCB to head up the Excellency team, I look forward to embarking on this exciting wealth management journey with you. With over 25 years of work experience in this field, wealth management is an area of special interest to me. My experience covers launching risk profile-based wealth solutions in the UAE for retail customers, launching investments and brokerage services in international growth markets and creating a world-class certification program to develop relationship managers’ skills in personal services. I hope to use my knowledge to take Excellency’s customised products and services even further. We have many exciting plans that will enhance your banking experience, especially when it comes to introducing new ways to offer unique solutions of the highest standards. So far, working with the Excellency team has been truly fascinating. While we have already managed to receive great customer loyalty scores, that does not mean we will stop looking at innovative ways to increase customer satisfaction. In recent years we have seen ADCB become much more than an institution to facilitate transactions. Given the volatility in the global financial markets, ADCB is increasingly placing emphasis on understanding our customer
base and exploring methods through which we can evolve our relationships with the clients. It is through our customeroriented values and vibrant team of relationship managers that we at Excellency distinguish ourselves from other wealth management propositions. Combining our local ethos and roots while placing strong emphasis on managing customer relations, we offer access to worldclass solutions in all areas of wealth management. By focusing on three pillars – ‘Prosper, Preserve and Enjoy your wealth’ – we aim to provide a well-rounded approach in all of our services, channels and financial solutions. We operate using a 360-degree approach, offering domestic banking, offshore banking, wealth solutions that cover access to regional equity markets, global financial markets, multiple asset classes, asset management, discretionary portfolio management, savings plans for key life objectives and much more. All this is supported by state-of-the-art online banking, dedicated phone banking and mobile banking tools. Some examples of Excellency’s services that I personally find very attractive are the option to open an offshore account with ADCB’s Jersey branch and to use offshore banking to manage your estate well. That is only the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to know more about Excellency’s services, our relationship managers are always happy to talk to you about ways to customise your portfolio or send you brochures for more information. Issue 19
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It’s time to rise above the ordinary.
Braving the Waters
elcoming more than 30,000 race action fans, Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Breakwater was buzzing with activity when it hosted the Volvo Ocean Race in January. The race started in Alicante, Spain, in October and will end in Galway, Ireland, in July, with teams sailing over 39,000 nautical
Art of Design
he inaugural edition of Design Days Dubai, the Middle East’s and South Asia’s first fair dedicated to collectible and limited edition design, showcased a variety of high-end pieces by 22 international and regional galleries. The fair took place in March, displaying collectibles worth up to $400,000. Among the exhibitors was Van Cleef & Arpels, which showcased its latest high jewellery
miles of the most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland and around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon and Lorient. Each entry has an 11-strong professional crew and the race requires their utmost skill, physical endurance and competitive spirit as they race continuously for more than 20
collection Bals de Légende, presenting five sets of jewels inspired by five 20th century balls. Design Days Dubai aims to bring a fresh dimension to the region’s arts and design scene, becoming a flagship regional event and global forum for attracting leading international galleries, collectors, designers, critics and curators. The fair, along with worldrenowned contemporary art fair Art Dubai, formed part of Art Week, a broad programme of cultural events taking place across the UAE in March. Cyril Zammit, Fair Director, Design Days Dubai, said: “The appetite for high-end design in Dubai and the Gulf region marks the maturing of the arts scene in the city. While internationally, high-end design concepts have established a definite niche for themselves, Dubai is now breaking the mould with the new initiative.”
days at a time on some of the legs. The crews experience life at the extreme. No fresh food is taken on board so they live on freeze dried fare, they experience bad weather, temperature variations from minus five to 40 degrees Celsius, only take one change of clothes and suffer from sleep deprivation.
New commercial branch for JAFZA companies ADCB inaugurated its newest branch in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in March, bringing the total number of branches across the UAE to over 50. The latest addition to ADCB’s branch network is a dedicated comprehensive commercial branch catering to the needs of all companies operating in Jafza, including multinationals and small and medium enterprises.
Rise Above it all. Above the ordinary. The everyday. The endless winding lines, the vending machine food, and using your carry-on as a pillow. Rise Above merely tolerating travel, and actually start enjoying it. Introducing the new Etihad Guest Above Credit Cards. With four available, there’s a perfect card for everyone, each with exclusive perks to match. Perks like fast-track enrollment in Etihad Guest Gold and Silver Status, exclusive Pearl Business Class Lounge access, and up to 2 Etihad Guest Miles per USD 1 spent on the card. Plus a Miles Multiplier Programme and up to 50,000 Etihad Guest Miles as a welcome bonus. Rise Above. Visit adcb.com/riseabove
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dig st ADCB raises $500 million in Islamic bonds A-rated sukuk allow investors to take advantage of the lucrative Islamic capital market
mid turbulent market conditions, investors are increasingly looking at ways to tap into emerging markets. Coupled with a substantial investor base that prefers to bank the Islamic way, it is no wonder that sales in Islamic bonds are rising sharply, totalling $26.5 billion globally last year. Within the region, ADCB is establishing itself as a leader in the Islamic finance market after raising a staggering $500 million via a five-year Islamic bond, or Sukuk, in November 2011. “It is incredible how, since the inception of our Islamic window in 2008, it has grown to become such a significant part of the bank’s overall business,” says Kevin Taylor, ADCB’s Group Treasurer. “Our initiatives have had great results and continue to do so. “We’ve seen a significant increase in investments in the emerging markets space in recent years. The returns are very good – the GCC and Asian markets are moving tremendously fast as they aren’t experiencing economic turbulence in the way Europe and America are.” In addition, Taylor ascribes the high investor demand for ADCB’s first Sukuk to the bank’s strong credit rating, which is based on high liquidity levels, robust capital adequacy and strength of ownership by the Government of Abu Dhabi, through the Abu Dhabi Investment Council. Based on the long-term counterparty credit rating of ADCB, the trust certificates were assigned an A rating by Standard & Poor’s, an A1 rating by Moody’s Investors Service and A+ by Fitch Ratings. “What appeals to investors is the combination of the construct, a Sukuk format, and the underlying credit. Both tick a lot of boxes because of our strong ownership.”
The Sukuk can be bought and sold by eligible investors through ADCB’s brokerage or treasury desks in minimum denominations of $200,000. The Sukuk certificates were issued by ADCB Islamic Finance (Cayman) Limited, an Islamic special purpose vehicle established for the transaction.
Profit payments due on the certificates
are generated by a pool of underlying wakala and mudaraba assets (a combination of tradeable and non-tradeable assets). The assets are managed by ADCB, which acts as both the managing agent and mudarib for the portfolio. An underlying portfolio primarily comprising real-estate Ijara assets, non-real
Sukuk Islamic bonds are structured in such a way that the issuance is not an exchange of money for interest, as with conventional bonds. Instead, it is based on an investment in a pool of approved Shari’ah compliant assets, allowing the investors to earn profits generated from real economic activities permissible in Islam. Islamic modes of finance commonly found in sukuk structures can generally be divided into two types – either they provide direct finance as capital funds through partnership (musharaka and mudaraba) or they provide indirect finance through leasing (ijara) and sale contracts (murabaha, bai ajil, salam and istisna). A wakala is an agency contract that generally includes a fee for the agent in its terms.
estate Ijara assets, Salam assets and other Shari’ah-compliant assets will generate recurring income that serves as the basis for the periodic profit distribution to the holders of the trust certificates. ADCB’s Sukuk adhere to Shari’ah principles and the structure has been reviewed and vetted by ADCB’s Shari’ah board, which is headed by Dr Hussain Hamid Hassan, a renowned scholar in Islamic banking. “The underlying assets gather no interest – they are based on real economic activities, such as the buying and selling of commodities, leasing of permissible properties and so on. “None of the assets are related to prohibited activities in Islam,” explains Riad Saad, Islamic Product Manager, Treasury & Investments Group. Any investor will have undivided ownership in the underlying portfolio, receiving pro rata profit. In recent years, ADCB has been one of the most active issuers in the wholesale market. ADCB was the first GCC bank to meet the stringent disclosure and transparency requirements to sell bonds to US investors (144A programme) in 2009. Two years later, it issued 150 million in Swiss Franc denominated bonds. “We’ve had a well-known presence in global capital markets for the past seven years. We were active in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore before issuing the Sukuk in November and are looking forward to launching many more initiatives,” says Taylor. “Working on the Sukuk initiative was tremendously exciting for us all. We were overjoyed when we heard that we received a book worth three times our target just hours after launching the transaction.”
The Sukuk team left to right: Vijay Kasturi, Amr Saad, Caroline Parsons, Riad Saad, Rajesh Raheja and, centre, Kevin Taylor
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aving presented and produced hundreds of television shows, documentaries and feature films, Nashwa Al Ruwaini is known as one of the most prominent media personalities of the Arab world. She is also co-founder and board member of Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Your talk show Nashwa has been a huge hit. How do you keep the content fresh and engaging?
My show is a platform for people’s voices to be heard – encouraging debate and discussion is the first step to bring about social change. I feel that it is my moral and religious obligation to bring out the controversial topics that are taboo so that we can debate, discuss and resolve them. Without question, the toughest topics we have handled were related to women and children. It was horrific and gut-wrenching to listen to their stories. Pyramedia has been involved with Prince of Poets and Million’s Poet. What was it like to deliver such innovative concepts?
For Million’s Poet I was assigned by HE Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Advisor for Culture and Heritage in the Court of His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
and Board Member of Abu Dhabi Authority for Tourism and Culture, to develop a format for a poetry show. He wanted it to be big so we came up with a format that involved the TV show, a TV channel, a magazine, a website and a festival. This scenario filled a void in the Arab media scene. We then developed another format about classical poetry with Prince of Poets, which played a major role in the Arab cultural scene.
The Emirati film scene is developing rapidly and we are so proud of the initiatives that involve UAE Nationals. Emirati film talent already participated in our first feature documentary project, Changing Sands. We always hunt for new talent and we try our best to guide them and polish them. Pyrastars has cast Arab actors in a variety of international productions including Ghassan Massoud in Ridley Scott’s film Kingdom of Heaven as well as Amr Waked, Khaled Al Nabawy and others in many other films. How would you like to see the film and TV industry evolve?
What made you decide to branch out on your own and set up Pyramedia?
Nashwa Al Ruwaini, CEO and owner of Pyramedia, on leading one of the most successful production companies in the Middle East and her hopes for the future of Arab cinema 014
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
My favourite element is the creative aspect of my career. For example, it was an amazing and exciting experience to develop the visual and interactive concepts of Million’s Poet because this format was new. I love starting projects from scratch and seeing them materialise and flourish. I love to hunt the talent that will become the face of and the power behind the projects. I feel that it is like making history in media in the Arab world and I am so proud to be part of this.
Pyramedia has also found success as a casting agent. Can you give us an insight into the pool of Emirati talent that exists and how this is growing?
Creating an industry is not an easy task but we are definitely on the right track. Now we can proudly say that the biggest productions in the region are coming out of Abu Dhabi and that local talents are working side by side with international expertise to deliver the highest quality of TV production.
One to Watch
based only on rationale which proved to be wrong, and I learned that a combination of instinct and rationale always works.
Having to start a company from scratch and getting out of my comfort zone was not easy. I had worked for the MBC Group for 15 years, but I knew it was time to fly away. I knew I had the wings but I just needed to test their strength, so I simply went for it. I needed to be able to leave my footprint in media. Where does your drive and motivation stem from?
I have always had a strong feeling of commitment towards anything I do, but everything starts with a challenge for me. Once I feel that I am challenged enough to commit I don’t stop until I reach my goal. Another important character trait is that I always go for the things that no one has
Who inspires you?
“I have never undertaken taken any easy task. I feel proud when I am told ‘this is too easy for you!’ Although sometimes when I am in the midst of it all I say to myself, ‘What have I gotten myself into this time?”
done before or the things that I am told are impossible to be done. I have never undertaken taken any easy task. I feel proud when I am told ‘this is too easy for you!’ Although sometimes when I am in the midst of it all I say to myself, ‘What have I gotten myself into this time?’ What lessons did you learn from early career experiences?
Starting my career early in life taught me patience. I also learned to trust my instincts and never give up. I made some decisions
My first role model in life was my grandmother, who single-handedly led the family business in agriculture despite the fact that she was illiterate. She had a vision and she went for it. My international media role models are Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart – they started from scratch, reached their goals and became brands on their own terms. I have personally learned a lot from my Arab media role model, Sheikh Waleed Al Ibrahim of MBC Group. Sheikh Waleed, at a very young age, managed to create a media empire that is still unchallenged in the Arab world. My business role model is Steve Jobs. He succeeded because he wanted to make a difference in the world in a positive way. He added business sense to that and, boom, he did it. What are your goals?
It all depends on how you define reaching the top. The day that I feel I have reached the top would be the day that my career ends. In the creative industry, the ‘top’ is always in flux and evolving. I want to live to see a proper cinema industry thrive in the Arab world. I want our movies to compete for the Oscars and the Baftas of the world. I want the international industry to take us seriously as major players. I want the world to recognise and respect the huge talent we have in the Arab world. Through the arts and the creative community, we can promote coexistence and peace. In summary, I want to leave a legacy, however small, to help improve understanding between the Arab world and the West. Issue 19
:: gastronomy ::
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Popularised by the world’s best restaurants, molecular cooking techniques have taken the world by storm. Melissa Sleiman talks to Harold McGee, the godfather of modernist cooking, about the latest trends
erated frozen foam flavoured with parmesan, pasta-free pea ravioli and chocolate jelly carpaccio. And what to think of sardines on toast ice cream? To some, combining scientific and culinary techniques is a journey towards perfection, the future of cooking. To others, it is nothing more than over-hyped, clinical and passionless showmanship. So contested is the practice that the mere utterance of the phrase ‘molecular gastronomy’ is enough to set off heated debate. While the discipline does involve deconstructing ingredients to the molecular level, most avant-garde chefs worth their salt are quick to point out that it is more than that. Traditional cooking techniques are not being ignored. They are simply being enhanced, so the term ‘modernist cuisine’ would be more accurate. The approach has won Michelin-starred chefs such as Heston Blumenthal of the UK’s The Fat Duck and Thomas Keller of Per Se and the French Laundry in the US a slew of accolades, and their restaurants are consistently declared the best in the world.
:: gastronomy ::
Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli in Catalonia, known as the most influential generator of haute cuisine until it closed its doors for “a period of reflection” last year, usually grabbed the top spot. For the past decade, getting a seat at the legendary 15-table restaurant was considered equal to winning the lottery – millions competed for its 8,000 reservations each year, with the lucky few starting a review writing trend known as ‘I Ate at El Bulli’. The practice has indeed come a long way, affirms Harold McGee, author of the classic reference book on kitchen science On Food and Cooking and a legend among chefs and food writers. He first started exploring the nascent territory in the 1970s, when it was met with considerable scepticism.
Molecular juice drinks Molecular techniques are not only restricted to the kitchen but are also used in the creation of sodas and juice drinks. One of the main trends is to use the ‘miracle fruit’, a berry from West Africa that causes anything that tastes sour to become very sweet. After chewing it, people can literally eat lemon wedges. Another interesting ingredient
Today, modernist cooking has actually become fashionable
“Many cooks felt it had nothing to do with their field,” he recalls. “‘We have recipes that have been developed over the centuries, we’re craftsmen,’ they would say. “Food scientists felt that cooking was an ordinary domestic activity and it was more significant to focus on manufacturing for the food industry. “But today, modernist cooking has actually become a fashionable sort of thing,” says McGee. “There are now academic studies for cooks and all kinds of interesting collaborations between restaurants and scientists, with The Fat Duck’s development kitchens coming up with inventions for the menu a year from now.” Kitchens of this nature resemble laboratories wherein lab-coated employees
is ‘anti-bitters’, which block bitter flavours. Since too much bitterness is unpleasant, it is often covered up by adding more sugar. But bitter-blocking compounds can create a drink that isn’t cloyingly sweet and the flavours of the original can be tasted without the bitterness. “Precision is very important. Because many of the ingredients come from the food processing industry, and are chemical based, they can impart flavours if used
in excess. Often some of the ingredients need to be measured in fractions of a gram,” says Canadian chemist Darcy O’Neil. “I think the industry is becoming more accepting of molecular juice drinks. If the average person can make a drink at home, then going out for that drink isn’t really all that exciting. However, these techniques aren’t something the average person can do at home and this creates a memorable experience.”
often work in conjunction with chemists on experiments. These could range from something as basic as testing the ideal temperature to cook a piece of meat to finding a way to make noodles out of parmesan cheese using a specific enzyme. “The processes involve many repetitive experiments and taste comparisons, as a single degree can make a difference in the texture and flavour of food,” says McGee. “With modern technology, chefs can create textures in an egg yolk that can be rolled out as dough, which was not possible a decade ago.” With sous vide technology – where food is cooked sealed in an airtight plastic bag in a water bath – chefs can evenly cook food at a very precise temperature, while a rotary evaporator can distil liquids without heating them so they can be infused into something else. Using liquid nitrogen, food or dishes can be frozen or cooled instantly. The techniques can even be combined to create special effects, such as cryofrying meat, which is to cook meat sous vide, then dip it in liquid nitrogen and finally deep-fry it quickly to get a nice outer crust, one of 1,500 recipes that can be found in Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine: The Art of Science and Cooking, a six-volume culinary manifesto. iconic invention in modern cooking is spherification. Using the technique, caviar-like structures can contain any kind of flavoured liquid, whether it’s
perhaps the most
El Bulli’s Ferran Adrià may have inspired chefs around the world, but not everyone was happy about this development. The late chef Santi Santamaria, who opened Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm, in 2008 and earned three Michelin stars for Can Fabes, accused his Catalan colleague of poisoning his diners with his use of emulsifiers and foams. It all started when he famously provoked outrage by calling the molecular cooks at the 2007 Madrid Fusion summit “a gang of impostors whose work is to distract snobs”. And when receiving an award for his book La Cocina al Desnudo (The Kitchen Laid Bare) the following year, he said: “Some chefs offer a media spectacle and are not concerned about healthful eating.” Adrià responded that he regretted the damage Santamaria’s comments would do to Spanish cuisine’s reputation abroad. The explosive feud ended when Santamaria died in February last year. El Bulli is currently being transformed into a think tank for creative cuisine and gastronomy and will be managed by a private organisation. It is set to reopen in 2014.
Chef Denis Martin at Gourmet Abu Dhabi
juice or veal stock surrounded by thin skin. When consumed, an explosion of flavour results. However, McGee believes that after a period of innovation in the past decade there aren’t many sensational new things to discover. “This is a time of consolidation and solidifying. What do you do with these techniques? Could you use them to be expressive and integrate them into the craft like basic techniques have become part of the toolkit?” he asks. Intriguingly, the trend among molecular gastronomists is to shy away from crazy, exotic ingredients to focus on what is in their own backyard. “It is about finding ingredients in your local place,” McGee explains.
“Chefs go in the morning to the coast, get whatever greens, flowers and seaweeds there are and improvise based on whatever they’ve found. That’s what makes the experience exotic – you never will have that combination again. “You can see it in restaurants like Noma [in Copenhagen, currently ranked the world’s best restaurant], which is coming up with a delightful rediscovery of ingredients used in the past that have been forgotten.” Part of this modernist approach is reinventing classic dishes, using the same basic structure, but providing different sensations. Dissecting each characteristic of a dish, whether it is sweet, sour or bitter, chefs can play with taste and smell elements, for instance by replacing citrus with citric acid or other fruit aromas. In doing so, they manage to surprise their diners time after time. “The people who have been on the forefront of modernist cooking are among the most passionate I know,” says McGee. “They truly love food and are incredibly excited about exploring possibilities that we haven’t dreamed of before. You do not go to a modernist restaurant to have your expectations fulfilled – you go there to have experiences you’ve never had before.” Issue 19
:: CAMELS ::
:: section ::
Camel connoisseurs were on the lookout for new breeding stock at the region’s largest camel beauty contest
reeders displayed more than 20,000 camels at Al Dhafra Festival in Abu Dhabi, with the winners of the camel beauty contest taking home AED42 million in total. Khalfan Bin Sendih Al Mansouri’s naqah (female camel) Mayasah won the top spot in the Al Mafareed Tilad competition, which only sheikhs and tribe members can enter. He also won second and third places for Sabbara and Shaheniah respectively. The festival plays a major role in the buying and selling of exceptional camels. Following the beauty contest, a naqah owned by Hafeez Al Mazrouei was sold for AED7.5 million, almost half of the record price ever paid for a naqah. Last year, Sheikh Sultan Bin Hamdan bought Karam Al Menhali’s naqah for AED15 million.
Photos and information provided by Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage
:: FINANCE ::
The Emerging World Order
Investors are increasingly turning to emerging countries that are catching up with, and in some cases surpassing, the economic old guard
he World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos is traditionally regarded as an event of enormous significance, but this year’s event was deemed a bit of an embarrassment. With no high-level officials from key economic power China in attendance – after organisers ignored warnings that it would clash with Chinese New Year celebrations – the summit did little to help solve the world’s financial problems. On top of that, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff brusquely snubbed the forum, favouring the anti-capitalist debates at the World Socialist Forum instead. Mockingly referred to as ‘the European Economic Forum’, the elites of politics, business and media questioned the relevance of a global forum at which some of the fastest growing economies were not represented, while its agenda mainly revolved around their participation. It is no secret that the economic world order is changing. At a time when Europe suffers from a festering debt crisis and the US economy continues to struggle, emerging markets are rising to the forefront, already accounting for over 30 per cent of global GDP. Consumer demand in developing
written by Ron Kaiser
countries is playing an increasingly important role – emerging markets’ share of global private consumption has grown from 18 per cent in 1990 to 27 per cent in 2010. Investors have typically opted for the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, but experts now say that their performance had perhaps been a little over-estimated. Albert Edwards, Société Générale’s pugnacious strategist, has even gone so far as saying it should stand for ‘ridiculous investment concept’. After rising sharply between 2003 and 2007, assets in BRIC funds had shrunk to $28 billion by August 2011, almost a quarter below 2007 peaks. But BRICs are not the only emerging countries in the world, and new indexes give investors the opportunity to gain exposure to a wider base of emerging markets.
& poor’s recent launches are tradable indexes featuring companies in countries including Chile, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Thailand and Turkey.
“With the BRICs now established as a popular investment destination, investors are looking further afield to smaller, less developed emerging markets which may have potential for growth,” says Michael Orzano, Associate Director of Global Equity Indices at S&P Indices. Zack Miller, a US-based financial advisor, industry consultant and author of Tradestream yourWay to Profits: Building a Killer Portfolio in the Age of Social Media, concurs. “BRICs have had huge growth over the past decade,” he says.”I don’t think growth is going away, just being mitigated by the law of big numbers. Plus, there are some specific issues such as inflation in China and property rights in Russia. ”I think interest is shifting away from the BRICs to more frontier markets, which provide almost a greenfield opportunity for investors willing to absorb the risk.” Frontier markets such as the UAE, Argentina, Vietnam and Kuwait tend to have lower market capitalisation and liquidity than developed emerging markets. The possibilities of tapping into these, as well as more developed emerging countries, are vast, the easiest entry route being to purchase stocks of multinationals with a lot of exposure to the target geography.
This strategy is not as effective as directly investing in an emerging country, although other options come with various risks that investors should be wary of. Those undeterred by this may start by going for mutual funds and exchangetraded funds (ETFs) in emerging markets. “This is a great way to get some yield in healthy economies without assuming equity risk,” says Miller. “You can buy a single ETF that gives you access to bond portfolios across a region like Latin America or Asia. That way you can get some geographic diversity as well. “One trend that I think is interesting to keep an eye on is the globalisation of the stock markets. Through mergers and acquisitions, many of the markets around the world are owned by common owners. This will continue to encourage firms to look for capital outside their geographies by listing on foreign exchanges. “That’s a great opportunity for investors and one that will require better tools and oversight, as evidenced by the spate of Chinese reverse merger disasters listed in the US.” The question, then, is which index or country to invest in specifically – emerging markets cover up to 150 countries and analysts tend to recommend different groupings for each. mauro guillen, Director of the Lauder Institute at the Wharton School, the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, warns that each country, even if located in the same continent, is different and the situation can change rapidly. “Legal systems, government traditions and political dynamics are very different by emerging economy and they shift quickly in some cases,” he explains. “You need to assess risks carefully, while thinking that the returns in emerging economies are now much better than in developed markets. However, be careful about the potential for inflation.” Miller, too, advises that each geographic region should be analysed on its own merit. “Asia’s real estate was very attractive for a while,” he says. “I don’t think I’d buy real estate in a major Chinese city right now, but the peripheries may still be interesting. “Most of the opportunities in emerging markets are domestic in nature, like telecom players wiring – or wireless, actually – up consumers and businesses for the first time with telephony, TV and internet. Banks are growth engines, supplying growth capital but without a lot of experience and effective capital controls. They’re also primed for overextending themselves. “The emerging market is on pace to catch up with the rest of the world, though nothing is a smooth ride. There will be plenty of ups and downs on the mad march to growth. This will provide many opportunities for investors to make money… and lose their shirts,” smiles Miller.
wealth Mark Friedenthal, Head of Asset Management, ADCB, gives an introduction to emerging markets
conomies, as typically defined by their levels of economic activity and openness, fall into three categories: developed market, emerging market or frontier market. There is no single, homogenous set of rules defining what constitutes an emerging market, but the term generally defines countries in the process of reform and transition. From closed economies to open ones, they often exhibit low to middle percapita income. The task of determining whether a country can be classified as an emerging market rests with the major equity market index providers such as MSCI, S&P and FTSE. These index providers will each define their own set of rules and criteria to determine the appropriate investment categorisation of each country, sometimes resulting in differences in categorisation. A prime example is the UAE, which is considered an emerging market by FTSE but defined as a frontier market by both MSCI and S&P. In the MENA region only Egypt and Morocco are considered emerging markets. Globally, the emerging markets universe is dominated by India and China but includes countries from Central and Eastern Europe, South East Asia, South America and South Africa.
emerging markets are usually countries undergoing major market reforms and are hence ‘emerging’ from a closed and restricted environment. Labour costs are generally relatively low and there is a great need for infrastructure development, which encourages FDI (foreign direct investment). Growing FDI in turn further encourages infrastructure development, leading to a cycle of increasing domestic job creation, consumption and affluence. Many of the emerging market countries are also commodity producers and the resulting liquidity created during positive cycles leads to further broad economic development. Emerging markets are generally classified as high risk, so they are
not appropriate for all investors. However, on a relative basis within the broad emerging market category, it is possible to differentiate between higher and lower risk investment opportunities. The obvious example is the comparison between emerging market equity and emerging market debt, where on a relative basis debt would be lower risk than equity. The most convenient way to access emerging markets is through mutual funds, which offer opportunities in global emerging markets, single country emerging markets and specialist regional groupings such as the ever popular BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
“Emerging markets have also traditionally been export-driven economies, but in recent times they have witnessed increasing domestic consumption” the optimal solution for investors is to have diversified exposure to both developed and emerging markets to benefit from the defensive nature of mature, dividend paying companies in developed markets as well as the high growth associated with emerging markets. As one would expect given their higher return expectations, emerging markets are classified as higher risk and do tend to perform fairly poorly in times of economic crisis as investors shy away from risk. However, emerging market economies are far less geared than many developed market economies so, counter-intuitively, represent a lower risk opportunity. Emerging markets have also traditionally been export-driven economies, but in recent times they have witnessed increasing domestic consumption as growing middle classes consume a wider array of goods and services.
:: health ::
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:: travel ::
:: section ::
Hotels with History
Set in former banks, city halls and palaces, these carefully restored hotels combine modern luxury with old-world charm
:: section ::
:: travel ::
Hotel Sofitel Legend, The Grand Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome Berlin, Germany Overlooking Babelplatz in the heart of Berlin, this luxury hotel once housed Dresdner Bank’s head office and was constructed by the master builder of the government in 1889. Hotel de Rome has given the building a contemporary twist, but still manages to retain the ornate splendour of its past. Showcasing architectural delights are the historical suites, formerly a conference room and a manager’s office. Each hides exciting discoveries such as a secret compartment accessed by a lever in the window surround and a concealed door in the bookcase. The interiors combine superb original elements like wood panelling and beams in the ceiling, with modern luxuries such as sandstone mosaics and under-floor heating in the bathrooms. As charming as the suites are, the real hidden gem is the Spa de Rome, housed in the bank’s old jewel vault. The 800-squaremetre spa has been cleverly designed to reflect its history and the golden Bisazza mosaic in the pool area gives the impression that you are swimming in gold. www.hotelderome.com
After centuries of accommodating Amsterdam’s town hall, this vast and beautiful building has been given a new lease of life as a five-star hotel. Carefully restored and refurbished, The Grand now plays host to a global clientele including international movie stars as well as Amsterdam’s elite. The hotel comprises 178 bedrooms, including 52 suites. Preservation of original features can be seen in the strikingly carved wooden doors and stained glass windows. The décor has a simple yet regal style and pays homage to the past by using heavy cotton damask fabrics or chenille-like velvet, with red as the predominant colour. If you are looking to experience grandeur and the rich history of The Grand, the three Legendary Imperial Suites pay testament to the history of the building and include a dining table, steam room and personal butler service.
daffodil field in New Zealand and was nationally famous because of it. The field still blooms today. The grounds also encompass a lawn, woodland, the Dutch garden – which houses a canopy of exotic trees – and the Potager garden, which provides fresh, organic ingredients for the Lodge’s daily changing menu. Guests are even invited to accompany the chef and select their own vegetables. The style and scale of the homestead
were influenced by that of noble English country estates and it is considered one of the best examples of unspoiled Queen Anne architecture in Australasia. The original master bedroom is now The Rhodes Suite, combining four rooms and boasting aspects such as a Victorian fireplace. Perfect for escaping from the hassles of life is the separate octagonal sitting room in the turret, or spa tub hiding away in the bathroom. www.otahuna.co.nz
Otahuna Lodge South Island, New Zealand Otahuna Lodge was originally built in 1895 for Sir Heaton Rhodes, a high-profile pioneer and long-term parliamentarian. Sir Heaton’s love of horticulture is still evident in the stunning 110-year-old gardens, which are reason alone for visiting the Lodge. At the beginning of the 20th century, Otahuna held the accolade for the largest Issue 19
:: travel :: Taj Lake Palace Hotel Udaipur, India This is a true palatial paradise. Completed in 1746, the Jag Niwas palace was built for Maharana Jagat Singh II. Legend has it the prince’s father banned his moonlight picnics on the island palace of Jag Mandir, so in response he built his own. The sight of the hotel is breathtaking – a vision in marble floating on a lake with the Aravalli mountains providing a backdrop. Built on one of four islands in Lake Pichola, the sumptuous property has drawn the attention of Hollywood and in the 1980s it was one of the sets for the Bond film Octopussy. The ambience is definitely one of royal decadence. Suites are adorned with opulent silks and embellishments, while rich colours and ornate furniture add to their lustre. In the Royal Suites and Grand Royal Suites you’ll find adornments such as decorative glass, antique ivory inlay and gilt mouldings. To really get a sense of the history behind this hotel, try a stay in The Chandra Prakash suite, used by the Maharana to hold court in the 1930s.
BEYOND EXPECTATION Finally drawing a line in the sand between business and leisure.
With the help of a butler who specializes in poolside rituals, one of the many reasons why. Grosvenor House London, England Sitting opposite London’s Hyde Park, Grosvenor House’s history dates back to 1665, when Mary Davies, aged just one, inherited the prime plot of land. Mary married Thomas Grosvenor, but it wasn’t until 1730 that their sons first developed the land for private use. Almost 200 years later the first hotel opened on the site, named in honour of Grosvenor and the first hotel in London with a bathroom in every room. It was in the hotel’s Great Room that Queen Elizabeth II learned to ice-skate. Its ice balls became so popular that the room was converted into a banqueting hall to host a wider range of events, although the plumbing for the ice rink still exists. Rumour has it that, for the right price, the hotel could be persuaded to temporarily reinstall the skating rink for a spectacular – though expensive – one-off event. Inside the hotel, expect a fusion of old and new – rooms boast many traditional features, including well stocked libraries in the suites, while JW’s Steakhouse has been repeatedly branded one of the best in London. www.londongrosvenorhouse.co.uk
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:: MOTORING ::
:: section ::
Enjoy the extra room without
Spacious A supercar is all well and good but when it comes to more mundane tasks than racing around a track, such as collecting the children from school or shopping for groceries, it is frustratingly impractical. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have someone to buy food for you, there are severe limits to how many new pairs of shoes or designer suits you can cram into the microscopic trunk of a Lamborghini. That need for extra space doesn’t mean the desire for performance must be abandoned. Most quality car makers produce high-end versions of their family models
– the BMW 335i or Mercedes C350, for example. Minor cosmetic differences aside, they often don’t look dramatically different from the entry-level versions. If you’re happy to blend in to the crowd that’s not a problem. But if you want to turn heads when you’re driving you need something more substantial. We borrowed a BMW M3, Mercedes C 63 AMG and Lexus IS F for the day and achieved just that, not least because one of the cars was bright green. Widely considered the one to beat in motoring circles, it was perhaps not surprising
that the M3 garnered the most attention from passers-by. With its bulging bonnet and aggressive lines, it demands to be noticed. It also consumes petrol at an alarming rate, irrespective of how hard you drive it, but if you’re seriously considering a car like this the running costs are likely not a consideration. What’s surprising, though, is the amount of room inside. Like the Mercedes it’s two door (although both also offer saloon options), and a degree of clambering is required to get into the back, but once there an adult can sit in comfort. What really sets the BMW apart is the
supercars sound of the engine. Its V8 is, quite simply, incredibly loud. So satisfying is the deep, throaty growl that it’s difficult to fight the urge to drop back in traffic to create space to put your foot down for a second or two. The Mercedes C 63 AMG is even more spacious than the BMW, with a 450-litre trunk and more room for passengers. The engine is also larger – 6.3 litres – although the difference in performance is not that great. It’s also extremely stylish. Until recently the C-Class appeared rather middle aged. New models over the past couple of years have changed that, and the C 63 takes it
to new heights. Now it looks like a sports car, complete with flared wheel arches and power bulges. Then there’s the Lexus IS F. No one would dispute that Lexus makes excellent cars, it’s just that they’re not known for being particularly exciting. The IS F aims to change that, with a five-litre V8 that develops 417bhp. It doesn’t look quite as aggressive as the BMW with its bulging power dome on the hood, but its side air intakes and four exhausts meant it turned plenty of heads during our time with it. All the cars have plenty of luxury options
– they may be highly tuned, but they’re not stripped down racing cars – but the Lexus probably took the lead in this area, with keyless entry and start. The difference between the cars is largely academic – the Mercedes has a bigger engine, the BMW is louder and the Lexus comes with slightly more gadgetry. On a racing track those differences may become more apparent but, for everyday driving, there is little to tell them apart. What they do have in common is the ability to chase supercars while carrying your shopping, and that’s priceless. Issue 19
:: real estate ::
:: section ::
Water World Nurai’s water villas and beachfront estates offer an unparalleled coastal living experience on a private island
cean views extending as far as the eye can see, blissful silence only broken by the sound of waves hitting the shore and pristine sandy beaches right on your doorstep. Who hasn’t dreamt of living on a private island? UAE-based boutique developer Zaya is making that dream come true with Nurai, an exclusive island community off the coast of Abu Dhabi for the truly affluent. Nestled on the ocean’s edge with a canopy of greenery unfolding across the
“Nestled on the ocean’s edge with a canopy of greenery unfolding across the roofs” roofs, its 28 spacious beachfront estates include three-metre-high rooms enveloped in light. For those who want to be even
closer to the ocean, there are the 12 water villas which extend into the sea. Residents will also have access to the services and amenities provided by the island’s boutique, called Retreat, which will be operated by Per AQUUM and include world-class restaurants and lounges, a private helipad, a spa and fitness centre and a floating marina. Completion and delivery of residential units begins in June, with the opening of Nurai Retreat a year later. Issue 19
:: ART ::
Artful Dodgers A wave of forgery scandals, some involving millions of dollars, has recently shaken up the art world. Melissa Sleiman finds out how collectors can avoid being caught out
On the walls of John Myatt’s farmhouse in Sheffield hangs an extraordinary collection of paintings – Monet’s dreamy landscapes, Hopper’s desolate street scenes and Cezanne’s colourful still lifes. But these masterpieces are far from the real deal. They are forgeries created by Myatt himself, using everything from a cup of coffee to emulsion mixed with toiletries. It was his singular gift that spawned the greatest art fraud of the 20th century – the sale of 200 paintings for millions of dollars –
and resulted in a year-long prison sentence (though he was released for good behaviour after four months). John Drewe, Myatt’s partner in crime, made £1.8 million (AED10.4 million) selling the pictures to collectors and galleries. He was released from prison two years into a six-year sentence. In a dramatic turnaround, Myatt now makes a living revealing some of the tricks of his once deceptive trade. He has also become an artist in his own right, selling ‘genuine fakes’ in the style of famous master
painters, and starring in two Sky Arts TV shows, Fame in the Frame and Mastering the Art. “When I paint in the style of one of the greats, I am not simply creating a copy or pale imitation of the original,” he says. “Just as an actor immerses himself into a character, I climb into the minds and lives of each artist. I adopt their techniques and search for the inspiration behind each great artist’s view of the world.” But despite efforts to educate the masses about forgery methods, it is still extremely
:: section ::
:: ART ::
Left: Clockwise from top left; John Myatt forged artworks by artists Alberto Giacometti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Raoul Dufy, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro Below: Richard Ellis with a stolen Picasso he recovered
“In an industry where millions are bought and sold, we’re often operating through agents or even remaining anonymous. Buyers should beware”
difficult to spot a fake, as evinced by the fact that about 120 of Myatt’s productions are still prized as genuine in collections around the world. That is just the tip of the iceberg, with a wave of recent scandals showing how relying solely on expert opinion is flawed. Take, for instance, last year’s Jäger case, involving 16 million euros (AED76.5 million) of counterfeit oil paintings, dozens of which are still in undetected circulation throughout Germany. The scam involved two granddaughters of the late Werner Jäger claiming they possessed a secret collection that once belonged to the wealthy German businessman. Experts determined they were partly made using titanic white, a paint colour that did not exist at the time, as well as discovering that the photos of Jäger and his wife were actually a granddaughter and her partner dressed up in period clothing. according to Richard Ellis, art crime investigator of the UK-based Art Management Group, you stand a good chance of safeguarding against such trickery by performing due diligence prior to making a purchase. “Just about any documentation could be forged, from certificates of authentication through to letters of ownership and export licences,” says Ellis, who formed the Art & Antiques Squad at New Scotland Yard
in 1989 and last year made headlines for recovering two stolen Picassos in Serbia. “The rule of thumb is that if there is an inordinate amount of documentation it is very, very suspicious. It is almost overkill.” Common tricks include sending an application for insurance as proof, or using genuine correspondence to create forged documents. “Fakers will offer their work to an institute in America only to receive a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ response,” he says. “They will then cut and paste in new text saying the opposite and retain the authentic signature and letterhead.” As it currently stands, the art market is highly unregulated; due diligence is not a legal requirement, so the only real legal prerequisite is related to money laundering. “In an industry where millions are bought and sold, we’re often operating through agents or even remaining anonymous. Buyers should beware,” says Ellis. “Renowned auction houses and art galleries don’t get it right every time. Who sold John Myatt? Sotheby’s and Christie’s.” Having previously worked as a general manager of Christie’s Fine Art Security Services, Ellis is painfully aware that there is not always time to conduct thorough provenance investigations. Huge volumes of artworks pass through the door and clients are pushing to see them in the next catalogue. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that once something is pulled,
Title disputes Even if your painting checks out as genuine, that does not necessarily mean it is the end of the story. Complications can still arise after the purchase. If the artwork was used as collateral for a loan, sold while there was a dispute over ownership or exported illegally (for instance when it was stolen or looted during wartime), the case could go to litigation. Restrictive cultural property laws apply in countries such as Italy, which mean that some works are not allowed to be exported. If that is the case, the purchaser could be convicted for handling stolen goods if the circumstances of the purchase are suspicious. US-based ARIS Title Insurance Corporation provides coverage for title disputes. If the title is challenged the company will defend the purchaser. If they lose the title, ARIS will pay them the entire insured value of the art work. “We have lawyers and researchers on staff who will determine what the risk is. We get everything from just a provenance document all the way up to an art historical dossier before deciding what the premium will be. Typically it is between one to three per cent of the value of the insured work,” says Judith Pearson, cofounder and president of ARIS. “In many art title disputes, the purchaser spends large sums to litigate. If the purchaser had bought title insurance before the claim, we could’ve won the case for them.”
:: art :: :: section it can take years before it can go up for sale again. If it goes on sale earlier, it will invariably be treated with suspicion by prospective buyers. While Ellis is hesitant to put a number on the number of forged artworks circulating in the market, he says it is “very large”. Art fraudsters tend to eschew the top end of the market, preferring the middle ground where it is difficult to check out the history of the artist and there are hundreds of thousands of dollars to be made. This was the case in the early 2000s, when a huge upsurge in fake Russian works of art occurred. Two-thirds of Russian works on the market were forged, only to be uncovered through the use of high resolution scanning techniques. It turned out that the fakers had bought up period pieces from Scandinavia and altered them before selling them to wealthy Russians. Lack of cataloguing has also made it possible for galleries to sell bogus Asian contemporary art with genuine certificates from the artists’ studio. In 2000, US art dealer Ely Sakhai was rumbled for buying genuine Impressionist works and selling copies of them with genuine certificates to Far Eastern clients who hadn’t checked the historical records. His scam unravelled when Sotheby’s and Christie’s held their master sales in the same week in Hong Kong and realised they were offering the same painting. Sakhai was sentenced to 41 months in prison in 2005. The FBI estimated his frauds at $3.5 million. provenance research alone is not enough to bring these tricks to light, however. Due diligence usually involves scientific examination, where experts check if the physical properties of a painting match its description, analysing the materials, the layers it is made of and when they have been applied, and so on. Petra Breidenstein, a Berlin-based expert who uses her art history knowledge and scientific techniques to determine the authenticity of artworks, says her work “is like examining different pieces of a puzzle”. She believes technology could have prevented many of the massive scandals that have rocked the art world. “In Germany, I’d say only around 20 to 30 per cent of buyers do this prior to
Famous forgers Art forgers have made millions selling works falsely attributed to some of the world’s bestknown master painters. These are some of the most famous forgers in history: Han Van Meegeren (1889 – 1947) Possibly the most influential art forger ever, Van Meegeren was famous for his Dutch master paintings.
John Myatt’s fake version of Claude Monet’s Waterlilies
“We often examine cracks in a painting. If they were created using heat, they will look different from those that appear from natural ageing” making a purchase,” Breidenstein says. In addition to the main giveaway of incongruous materials, notable slip-ups include techniques to make a painting appear older than it is. “We often examine cracks in a painting. If they were created using heat, they will look different from those that appear from natural ageing,” she says.
Arrested on charges of treason at the end of the Second World War for selling a famous painting to the Nazis, he avoided the death penalty by proving that the picture was actually an excellent forgery. Lothar Malskat (1913 – 1988) This master forger worked with Dietrich Fey when they were commissioned to restore damaged frescoes in the Marienkirche cathedral in Lubeck. The firm were praised for discovering and restoring
“The age of a wooden frame could also give us clues as to when the artwork really was created. You can determine the age of oaks by counting the year-rings and looking at its curves, although a clever faker could use an old panel of wood if they wanted to be really thorough.” Complications can arise when examining works from before the 19th century, however. “At the time, master painters such as Rembrandt would run workshops and have lots of pupils. Sometimes they deemed their pupils’ work good enough to pass as their own and would put their signature on the work,” says Breidenstein. “In these cases, you need a lot of research to find out where a painting came from exactly.” While no process is 100 per cent foolproof, both Breidenstein and Ellis are optimistic about their techniques helping expose fraud. “There are many more forged works out there. Often people don’t realise what they’ve got until they resell it,” says Ellis.
previously unknown frescoes. A year after the unveiling, Malskat, angry at Fey receiving the credit for the jobs, declared that the frescoes were fake and had been painted by him. Tony Tetro (born in 1950) Dubbed ‘the single largest forger of art works in America’, Tetro forged paintings by masters including Rembrandt and Dali. His forgery career lasted over 30 years until artist Hiro Yamagata discovered what was meant to be his own work hanging in a gallery.