Investing in Art for a Richer Life

| February 1, 2014
Self-Portrait, Spring 1887, Oil on pasteboard,...

Self-Portrait, Spring 1887, Oil on pasteboard, 42 × 33.7 cm., Art Institute of Chicago (F 345). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is some debate in the art world regarding whether art can ever be an investment or whether it should be more practically regarded as an asset. Whilst it’s true that many works of art by renowned artists gain in value over time, the Forbes website points out that there is no guarantee that works of art will increase in value, and that buying art solely for investment purposes is not an easy feat. Incredible prices are realised for some works of art, but as art advisor Stefano Basilico points out on Forbes, just because a painting sells for a million at auction, there’s no guarantee that it will ever trade at that price again. Because of the high competition to own artworks that experts agree are by artists likely to increase in demand in the future, art advisors recommend that individual collectors should have no more than 10% of their investment portfolio given over to art.

Value in Appreciation

Art is there to be enjoyed. It enriches life, provides new and fresh perspectives on the world. Unless we’re able to look at works of art academically or with an eye purely on the bottom line of profit, most of us react emotionally to art and maybe, also for most of us, that should be the guiding light when choosing which paintings or artists to invest in.

Original Alternatives

Unless you have pots of money, owning original works of art could well be out of reach, but that’s no reason to give up hope of enjoying good art at home. Rarity gives art its value as much as the skill of the artist, and while there can only ever be one original of a painting, skilful prints, or Giclées can cost a fraction of the original and have a similar vitality in terms of colour and clarity.

A Giclée may sometimes come with a certificate of authenticity if it’s a limited edition run, and may also be labelled as museum quality or archival quality. Some museums sell giclées of original masterpieces they hold in their collections, and while they’ll never have the same monetary value as the original, they’ll still give pleasure to whoever sees them.

Art for Fun and Profit

You don’t have to be Van Gogh to paint a picture. Many people are put off having a go themselves because they fear making a mistake or creating a mess. Gifted amateurs, though, regularly sell their work through local exhibitions and while you may never become famous or make a fortune, gathering a few art supplies and daring to try is the first step towards learning and enjoying a newly discovered talent. If you find art shops intimidating, an online retailer such as Jackson’s Art Supplies allows you to browse in the comfort of your own home.

There is a wide gulf between art as an investment and art for pleasure, unless you view the investment of your time as a worthwhile alternative to monetary gain. You may never get rich through investing in art, but your life will surely be enriched through the enjoyment of art, whether it’s your own or a relatively cheaply bought copy.


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