Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2004 (Revised February 2006)

Fernwood Art Investments: Leading in an Imperfect Marketplace

by Boris Groysberg, Joel Podolny and Timothy Keller

Abstract

As Bruce Taub, founder of Fernwood, strolled past some of New York City's finest galleries, he pondered the unique challenges that Fernwood faced. Where others had seen the inefficiency of imperfect markets, Taub saw an opportunity to revolutionize the very nature of how Americans related to the fine art market. As its chairman and founder, Taub had built Fernwood to serve as a vehicle for his vision: to democratize investment in art such that "even my secretary could someday own (shares of art) in her 401(k)." As Taub walked through the doors at Christies, he knew that in the near future, he was going to decide the path that would initially guide Fernwood toward investors. He also knew that at least in the short-term, he needed the support of the art community, and he wondered what else he could or should do to win that support.

Keywords: Arts; Investment; Strategic Planning; Problems and Challenges; Opportunities; New York (city, NY);

Citation:

Groysberg, Boris, Joel Podolny, and Timothy Keller. "Fernwood Art Investments: Leading in an Imperfect Marketplace." Harvard Business School Case 405-032, September 2004. (Revised February 2006.)