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Where the art scene is on point
BY PAOLA SINGER
The New York Times
This January, the Uruguayan musician, writer and visual
artist Dani Umpi had a solo
exhibition in Punta del Este,
a resort town on Uruguay’s
eastern coast. It was held at
Galerie Xippas, a sleek showroom recently opened by the
Paris-based dealer Renos Xippas. Hanging on the gallery’s
walls were bright collages
made of endless tiny scraps of
magazine images, and shadow
boxes containing bird faces
wearing neon wigs, a vivid
display of Umpi’s penchant
for bizarreness and sarcasm.
Cutting-edge art and highproﬁle galleries are new to
Uruguay, a country that is
modesty and restraint. But its
eastern coast — particularly
Punta del Este and the nearby
villages of Jose Ignacio and
Pueblo Garzon — has become
a warm-weather winter hangout for wealthy globe-trotters.
Between tanning at the beach
and shimmying at poolside
parties, they are scooping up
local paintings and sculptures.
For much of the past century, Uruguay’s respectable
but somewhat insular art
scene was largely inﬂuenced
by a geometric abstract style
known as constructivism, pioneered in the early 1900s by
painter Joaquin Torres Garcia.
In the new millennium, local
artists became more experimental in an age of free-ﬂowing information. “A few years
ago I began to see that Uruguay started moving in a very
interesting direction,” said
Xippas (whose Xippas gallery
is at Avenida Roosevelt and
Calle Oslo; 598-4-248-9451;
xippas.com). “There’s a new
generation with fresh, ironic
He plans to relocate to a
bigger space set on 15 acres
halfway between downtown
Punta del Este and Jose
Across the road from
Xippa’s future establishment is the Fundacion Pablo
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Atchugarry (Route 104, kilometer 4.5; 598-4-277-5563;
org), a nonproﬁt arts center
run by Pablo Atchugarry, an
artist from Montevideo who
gained international recognition with a series of massive,
intricately shaped abstract
sculptures carved out of
marble. The center hosts exhibitions by artists such as Le
Corbusier and emerging local
talents like Rita Fischer.
His 27-year-old son, Piero, is
the latest member of the coastal art crowd. Six months ago,
he opened a gallery in Tierra
Garzon, a 400-acre ranch
that’s being transformed into
a cultural destination. Aside
from the Piero Atchugarry
Gallery (Camino a Pueblo
Garzon, kilometer 2; 917-8582985; pieroatchugarry.com),
which occupies a converted
stable, the estate also has
modern residences for visiting
artists and a rural hotel that it
still under construction.
Tierra Garzon is just outside Pueblo Garzon, a onceforgotten railroad town that
came back to life when the chef
Francis Mallmann opened a
chic inn and restaurant there.
But the area’s most remarkable transformation happened
23 miles east, in Jose Ignacio.
This deceptively rustic peninsula, which just a decade
ago was a slumbering ﬁshing village, is now one of the
most coveted vacation spots
in South America. It’s also becoming an art hub, thanks in
part to Alexander Vik, a Norwegian ﬁnancier and art collector who built art-focused
luxury resorts, Estancia Vik
Jose Ignacio (Camino Eugenio
Sainz Martinez, km 8; 598-9460-5212; estanciavikjoseignacio.com) and Playa Vik Jose
Ignacio (Calle de Los Cisnes
y Calle Los Horneros; 598-9460-5212; playavik.com). Both
are decorated with a collection
of locally made sculptures,
murals and paintings. “We get
a lot of requests from guests
who want to buy art and meet
the artists,” Vik said.
A third property, Bahia Vik
(Ruta 10, kilometer 183; 5989-460-5212;
is scheduled to open in September (when many of the
area’s businesses reopen after a winter break) on a quiet
beach on the south side of the
peninsula. Given the enthusiastic reactions to the works at
his other lodgings, Vik is outﬁtting this 37-room hotel with
an art boutique.
Even some of the country’s
more traditional galleries are
making their way to the village. Galeria de Las Misiones
(Calle las Garzas; 598-4-2444092; galeriamisiones.com),
which owns a collection of
20th-century Uruguayan art,
opened an exhibition room
just steps from the beach. It’s
the place to see and buy works
by the likes of Pedro Figari, a
born in 1861, who became a
key ﬁgure of Uruguay’s previous artistic heyday.
Foreign Buyers Strengthen Florida, South Florida Real Estate Market and Economy
International Home Buying Activity in Florida Expected to Remain Strong
new report by Florida TaxWatch
conﬁrms the signiﬁcant impact of
foreign real estate buyers in Florida and
South Florida and predicts the future
demand from this market segment.
Foreign buyers have undoubtedly strengthened
the Florida housing market and economy – and
helped the South Florida market recover from
the downturn faster and stronger than any other.
Better understanding purchases by international
buyers helps businesses and policymakers make
decisions that will help diversify and stabilize
Florida’s economy even further.
The Florida TaxWatch report analyzes data for the
most recent ﬁve years of sales of Florida homes to
non-resident international buyers, using the yearly
“proﬁle of International Home Buyers in Florida,”
produced by the National Association of Realtors.
International buyers in Florida accounted for almost
$30 billion in purchases over the past three years
and is an important component of the housing
markets in various metropolitan areas in the state
and more prominently in Miami.
Florida is consistently the state with the largest
share of real estate sales to international citizens.
Within the state, South Florida is the favorite among
foreign buyers looking for cultural afﬁnity and an
exciting lifestyle unparalleled anywhere else in the
U.S. - and at affordable prices.
Florida has long been dependent on its real
estate market for growth and stability, as shown
in a recent Florida TaxWatch report detailing the
impact of housing starts on the Florida economy.
International buyers look at the U.S. market as a
place where their property rights are secure, and
often times invest in a property for both personal
enjoyment as well as the investment income.
Homebuyers’ Impact on
International purchasers of Florida homes have
also provide substantial amounts
of liquidity to the housing market, especially during
times of uncertainty, according to Florida TaxWatch.
Over the last ﬁve years, all cash sales have
accounted for more than 60 percent of total sales
in South Florida. In May, cash sales dropped to 55
percent but remain well above the national average
of 30 percent. Nearly 90 percent of international
buyers, most of whom are not used to ﬁnancing
properties in their home countries, pay all cash
when purchasing real estate in the U.S.
The amount of purchases by internationals in
Florida has been substantial in recent years,
peaking at 36,152 during the period from 20082009. A majority of these purchases were cash
transactions at a time when credit was difﬁcult to
come by for many Floridians, and others around the
The liquidity provided by international buyers
beneﬁts Florida homeowners, banks, and state tax
collections, thanks to increased real estate sales,
the documentary stamp tax revenues that come
with those sales, and the economic impact of the
new owners coming into the state.
Additionally, the vast majority of international
home buyers do not use Florida’s schools or social
services (such as Medicaid and Medicare), and they
do not qualify for homestead exemptions, which
means that their homes are taxed at full and ad
Where Do Most
The report emphasizes that certain variables may
affect purchases such as currency controls and
devaluation, political stability, and the other countryspeciﬁc variables. For example, there are often
concerns about oil pricing, a great international
currency earner of the past for Canada. Given the
volatility in oil markets, the Canadian Dollar ($CAD)
is heavily affected as worldwide oil prices change.
While Canada had been the foreign country that
provided the most purchasers of Florida homes, in
2013 buyers from Latin America and the Caribbean
countries as a group were the largest, coming in
at slightly more than 32 percent. Canadian buyers
from European countries accounted for 26.6
percent. These three groups account for 88.3
percent of the purchases of Florida homes by
The top international purchasers of Florida home
come from Canada, the U.K., Venezuela, Brazil,
Argentina, Germany, China, Colombia, France,
Peru, and Italy. Purchasers from Venezuela, Brazil,
Argentina, China, Colombia, and Peru have generally
been increasing since 2008. Substantial decreases
are reported for the U.K., and moderate decreases
from Germany have occurred in that span.
economy has expected two-year decrease in
GDP. The countries that show the most promise
for increasing purchase in Florida are Peru and
Colombia – both with growing shares of the
market. As Brazil returns to higher growth rates
in the future one would expect further increases in
market share from Brazilians purchasing homes in
The level of the exchange rate versus the U.S.
dollar is an important part of the relative price that
international purchasers pay for homes in Florida.
Both French and German purchasers will beneﬁt
from strength in the Euro versus last year, as will
the British Pound. The largest losers of purchasing
power would be Argentines and Venezuelans who
were holding their home currencies and who had
not already converted to U.S. dollars.
Foreign Buyers Expected
to Continue to Fuel
Political and Economic
Florida Housing Market, Uncertainty
While difﬁcult to predict, perceived instability in
a home country could cause foreign nationals
Florida TaxWatch, using a proprietary stochastic
forecasting model, expects a continuation of
international home purchasing activity in Florida.
An estimated more than 60,000 purchases by
non-resident internationals are expected to be
transacted during the 2014 through 2016 calendar
years. These purchases, along with the associated
purchases of furniture and other household goods,
entertainment spending, and travel will create jobs
that employ Floridians.
Top variables impacting international homebuyers
to purchase a Florida home as a portfolio
diversiﬁcation, as a hedge against potential home
currency devaluation, or as a place to have secure
property rights as a homeowner in the face of
rising uncertainty in their home country.
The number of visitors from a country can be an
indication of ease of travel to Florida, something
very likely important to potential home purchasers.
Foreign Buyer Income
Of the top 10 countries who citizens purchase
Florida homes, only the Venezuelan economy is
predicted to have negative GDP growth, and that
Representing More Than 30,000
Real Estate Professionals
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7/9/2014 1:41:21 AM