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How to invest in art – Is it a good investment?

Investing in art is subjective, as is trading on the stock exchange, but this does not deter hopeful investors. I make this comparison because art is an asset; it’s not a currency or a commodity. It’s a product that hopefully gains value over time. Contemporary Art holds similarities particularly to the penny stocks as it’s an emerging ‘product’ as are unknown artists, not unlike grass-root entrepreneurial companies. No one knows how well the general public will receive the product or how the Directors and staff will perform. It’s all a risk, but the advantage art has over the stock exchange is you do get to choose the final price and the product does not change. Once bought you can enjoy and ‘live’ with the artwork whilst increasing in value.

Invest in art is a good investment as it offers the buyer an actual product that can be seen and held. Buying an artwork provides a unique chance to exchange views and opinions with the artist and follow the artist’s career. It creates a relationship, and most artists are delighted to meet and talk to their clients. Artists are often eager to send invitations to private views where you can regularly update the artist’s new work, meet other similar minds and be part of a community. It also provides transparency of the price of the art and catalogues the progress. Most artists will have about two private views each year, either organised directly through the artist or the gallery representing them.

Most artists have one or two private views a year

If the artist is represented by a gallery it’s a really fun way to get involved in the ‘art world’ and widen your art collection with other pieces and also get professional advice when buying, storing, or transporting the artwork. Installing a painting or a sculpture in your home or garden is satisfying and gives peace of mind as to the whereabouts of the investment. Most artwork can be easily insured through the house or personal insurance at very little cost. There are no hidden costs such as Directors’ fees or mergers once the artwork is bought you can take it home or place it in the office and it’s yours.

According to an account by Bloomberg:

  1. 40.5 million Estimated number of total art transactions in 2019.

  2. $10,000 Estimated median price of an artwork sold by dealers last year.

  3. 310,810 The approximate number of businesses selling art and antiques worldwide.

It is wise when buying contemporary works of art that you have understood the techniques the artists use and the quality of materials. For example, paintings should always be primed and have some sort of guarantee from the artist that they have been made professionally and are of museum quality. This ensures that your artworks can be a great investment for the long run offering beautiful, timeless gifts for Grandchildren or charitable causes.

If a buyer does find they have to store artwork facilities are easy to find and relatively priced. The buyer could consider re-selling the artwork; however, most of the time, this is rare as most people buy art because they fall in love with it and usually feel a sense of loss if they sell. If you’re moving abroad, for instance, and it’s complicated the gallery that you bought the work from would most likely take it back and re-sell. Or the artist may have a contact that you could pursue.

Old master paintings for example Rembrandt or Botticelli will inevitably go up in price as they are in a sense regulated as they are at auction level. Investing at this entry point offers a professional service with a sea of possibilities with regard to re-selling. Established auction houses for example Bonhams, Sotheby’s, or for more contemporary work, Phillips will usually have a personal adviser who will document the sale and keep in touch with interested buyers.

‘Old master paintings are in a sense regulated as they are at auction level.’

The other advantage to buying art is the upkeep is relatively easy. If you are purchasing an old master such as Artemisia, for example, a restorer such as Simon Gillespie, London offers extensive restoring advice and recommendations. Generally, most works of art will last a lifetime before requiring extra care. If an artwork is damaged again, many professional restorers are available, and most damages are quickly repaired.

Investing in art offers partnerships and the opportunity to meet new people. It is an asset that can be shared and admired. Art can inspire and lift a person’s mood, bring back memories or enhance an interior and perhaps influence and change perceptions. A painting can be a powerful point of reference when designing and decorating, often dictating the decor. Art is easy to transport, store and maintain. Most works of art are consistent with inflation and go up in value while the buyer can enjoy them and the myriad of advantages of owning a piece of art.

Finally investing in art is good as it is all adding value to the artists’ creativity and inspiration. Always buy art that you like and you will never lose out. Artists and galleries rely on selling and people admiring their creations. Buying and owning a piece of contemporary art re-enforces an artist’s belief and supports the industry as a whole.

Kay Hare 24th May 2021

Kay is an artist working in oil on linen incorporating natural gemstone diamonds and gold leaf her work can be seen at Kay studied art at Byam Shaw School of Art and has had many exhibitions in London and Europe.


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