Why invest in art?

Why invest in art?

One of the questions I am sure that you are asking yourself at the moment is WHY SHOULD I INVEST IN ART ??????.  Well there are several reasons.  First of all the art market is a relatively insulated market which means that outside influences such as the economy, the share market, interest rates etc. tend to have very little, if any, impact on the value of artworks.  This also means that the art market tends to be very stable compared to other investment markets. 


Secondly art is an asset backed investment which means that you are investing in something tangible as opposed to the stock market where you could potentially end up with nothing.  An artwork will always have a value and if chosen correctly should not go down in value with a worst case scenario of the artwork holding its value for a period of time.


Thirdly the art market allows you to invest in something that is not only a good investment but also provides long lasting enjoyment, a factor that should be seriously considered when looking at investments.

2 Responses

  1. As a painters and sculptors I attempt to fulfil two functions: to be true to what I do, hopefully without selling out, and to do it with an awareness of what the art buyer is interested in, whether that be the pleasure of appreciation, or a desire to invest. I do not believe that people should always buy art because they like it – if they want to buy for investment and can get that right – then good luck to them – liking it may not be the best criteria for making a profit. If you buy into a pension scheme, you are looking for the best return, not the best logo, although unknowingly the logo may be influencing you – art is in everything. The trouble is, art is also fashionable, essentially of its time. Arguably the three most influential 20th Century western artists are Picasso, Duchamp and Warhol and Duchamp despite his importance is not instantly familiar to everybody. The success of an artist often has more to do with perception and recognition of style by the viewer than anything else (‘That’s a Monet, I don’t know enough about painting to say if it’s any good, but I recognized it and that makes me feel good’). This can be more important when selling art than almost anything else and it is often the way an artists ‘catches on’; like an ad. campaign, familiarity can be very important, but in this case a familiarity that does not breed contempt. Mid and late period Picasso is instantly recognizable to most and a great investment, and if you can find the right painting at the right price, you are unlikely to lose, but Picasso isn’t talked about as frequently as he was thirty years ago, which is understandable, given how people react to the trends of their time, or rather they react to the trends of the recent past (you have to take into account ‘catching on time’) and a fashionable appreciation of the distant past. Warhol is accessible because most of us can still relate to his imagery, whether he will be so when the audience feels out of touch is another story. If products one day come in plain paper bags without the sales imagery, Warhol may not be able to hold human interest when taken out of context. It would be quite something to see how he is perceived in two hundred years time. If Marilyn Monroe remains an icon, will it be because of her films or Warhol’s representations? Warhol’s prices have been all over the place at various times since his death, but given his popularity, the trend is likely to be upward. One assumes these artists are going to hold their price, but unlike Vermeer, who has stood the test of time, they are prolific by comparison and that will sometimes count against an artist (although maybe not at this level – there are enough museums and collectors around the world to take up the slack of even the most prolific of the great artists). Down the scale, ground breaking and scarce is probably the best criteria for investment, but is it easy to pick a winner in his own time? The answer to this is a resounding no. Buying a new artists is as close to a lottery as you can get. And the high prices of cleverly promoted artists will not guarantee high prices in future. On the other hand, artists who are unheard of now (sleepers), may remain unappreciated for decades, but when they are retrospectively placed in context they will suddenly become important and take off. Who these people will be, is anybody’s guess. It takes great perception to spot something that will be flavour of the month next week, let alone in twenty years time or sometime in the next century. All we can say is that somewhere, somebody will be getting it right – a good eye is terrific, but it is also down to the law of averages. Add to this the fact that many artists’ work won’t last because durability wasn’t a priority and investment options get tricky. It is a brave investor who buys Pop Art from the 1960s without an understanding of materials and technique. I love it, but a lot of the stuff won’t be around in a hundred years time, although it could be if a small fortune was spent on restoration. Investors would be better advised to buy art that is not going to fall to bits any time soon. As a generalization, art appreciated in its own time may be a poor long term investment. The future decides, not the art dealer, although of course the dealer will tell you a different story. You can fool some of the people all of the time and who knows, one day some of those people might just get lucky.

  2. Have been looking at doing site optimization and bettering the design on my site for a while, so this post has been really useful. Clear read as well, so thank you!

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