Using Logic to Beat the Art Market –

Using Logic to Beat the Art Market –

Making predictions regarding the art market or the value of an artist’s work is always going to be a difficult task but there are certain instances where one can make an educated guess based on common sense, logic and historical data. By analysing artist’s careers, different country’s art markets or the history of the art market as a whole it is often possible to identify a recurring series of events that continually occur in the same sequence or have resulted in the same outcome.

As with pretty much all investment markets, there are plenty of instances where a logical cause and effect scenario can be identified. Take, for instance, the Indian art market, which has recently experienced a major evolution fueled by increased wealth in the country and an increasing participation in, acceptance of, and correlation to, the western art world as a result of the globalisation of the art market. Although the Indian art market is modernising and westernising at a rapid rate there is still a long way to go before Indian art collectors and investors are as open minded and worldly as many western art collectors and investors. Modern installation works, sculptural works and conceptual works have until recently been an almost completely foreign concept for the Indian art market with the traditional paint on canvas being the most widely accepted and recognised medium. Because of the popularity of paintings, Indian art buyers are less inclined to purchase a work of art that is not a painting unless the artist has already gained acceptance and recognition as an accomplished painter. What has been happening in India is artists who have started their career working in mediums other than painting have not been accepted by the Indian art market yet artists who establish their career as a painter first are able to successfully move into other mediums once the market is comfortable and familiar with their paintings.

Because of this trend there is an opportunity to purchase works of art in mediums other than painting by Indian artists whose work may have been overlooked and undervalued due to the fact that they have not conformed to the traditional tastes of the Indian art world. If an artist’s works are considered to be too “modern” or “unconventional” in India, chances are the western art market would be extremely interested in them. There might also be the opportunity to purchase an undervalued work of art by an artist who was working in a medium other than painting but is going to move into painting into the future thus potentially increasing their value as an artist.

Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of common sense and logic to uncover potential opportunities to profit from art.

Image: installation by Indian artists Thukral and Tagra

**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.

2 Responses

  1. Interesting…I just stumbled across your blog…and I believe I will have to read a good deal more! However, what an interesting introduction to your ideas. I spend the majority of my time, when dealing with collectors, talking them out of art speculation…obviously there are some foundational differences in our approaches as well as in the end goal, so my question is probably off the path and more suited to an archived entry, but what about investment into an artist? What about emotional investment?

    Don’t misread me, I see and understand the speculative art market, but I wonder if one might be perpetuating a very negative trend in potentially culturally significant works by seeking out monetary gain in these pieces…hmmm…interesting…and well written!

  2. Hi Waylon,
    Thanks for the message. There is always going to be some sort of emotional element when purchasing art even when people say there isn’t. As far as I am concerned the art market allows artists to continue producing these works of art so by supporting them financially we are ensuring that there will be culturally significant objects in the future. The stark reality is that if there is no art market there is no art

    Nicholas Forrest

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