Art Investment Strategies: Great Artist or Just Great Painter?

Art Investment Strategies: Great Artist or Just Great Painter


artist2.jpgI think that one of the most important questions you should ask yourself when looking at investing in an artwork should be “is the creator of the artwork a great artist or just a great painter (or sculptor, drawer etc.)??”. The reason for this question is simple, there are plenty of extremely good painters, drawers, sculptors out there whose artistic careers may never venture beyond what may be considered a hobby. So with an art market that is driven by many factors other than aesthetics, merely buying an great painting by an amateur or hobbyist artist is very unlikely to make you any money in the future.


If you are purely interested in the aesthetics of an artwork then the term great painter and great artist are interchangeable. But as soon as you start looking at an artwork from an investment point of view the definition of a great artist has to change because in order to make a good investment decision you need to be able to make the distinction between a great painter and a great artist. If you are unable to identify the differences between a great painter and a great artist for the purposes of investment then the risk of making a bad investment is much greater.


In order to make a good investment in art you need to be able to remove any emotional influences and look purely at the likelihood of the artists work increasing in value.


**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

5 Responses

  1. […] post by artforprofits and software by Elliott […]

  2. This post would be approximately 34% better if you explained at the beginning what precisely what your definition of “great artist” is, given that you seem to imply (and not uncontroversially, I assure you!) that the distinction between “great painter” and “great artist” is entirely an economic one.

  3. Great Posting!

    It is like the difference between Billy Joel and the Beatles. Regardless of whether you like them or not, Joel basically only sings one kind of song. The Beatles sang numerous styles and tempos.

    I work in three medias currently. Each has their own unique signature style. Whether I attain to great artist only time will tell. But that is my goal.

    Thanks again for your insights,

    Jonathan Steele

  4. Dear Jim,

    Thank-you for your comment. The difference between a great painter and a great artist depends on whether you are approaching the purchase of an artwork based on investment potential or personal taste.

    Nicholas Forrest

  5. Great post, I really enjoyed it. I will have to bookmark this site for later.

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