Investing in art is an ever growing field. Whether you are a mogul who sees the large sums fine art garners at auction, or an art lover who would love for their passion to help pay the mortgage, many people are wondering how to invest in art.
If you aren’t convinced that you should be buying art as an investment, consider its advantages. Art often does not depreciate in value, is not closely tied to the stock market (although like everything, the market for it does fluctuate), and provides you with artwork for home or the office while it increases in value.
So, if you haven’t gotten in the game yet, and you’re wondering how to start investing in art. What types of art are there? What is the value of artwork? How can I tell? Below is a short guide to get you started. We’ll cover kinds of art to invest in and where to begin, as well as what the best art to invest in is.
Kinds of Art to Invest in
There are many types of art to invest in. Of course paintings come to mind, but there’s also sculpture, mixed media, and graphite to name a few more. While your budget, personal taste, and opportunities will help you find what the best art to buy for investment will be, here are some helpful jumping off points to get you thinking.
Painting is what everyone thinks of first when they think of art for investment purchases. So that’s where we will begin. Always consider storage and handling. If you mistreat a painting, you will lose money. Paintings should be kept out of the elements and direct sunlight, with a fairly constant atmosphere. When travelling, be sure to properly wrap your work and take caution handling it.
Prints of paintings can also be purchased. Make sure to purchase prints that come in limited editions or gicleés (the highest quality in reproduction) that have a certificate of authenticity. These buys will be less expensive than buying a painting directly, but will still hold and appreciate in value.
Photography is another popular avenue to invest in art. The photography market has some interesting features. In general, medium to large format fine art photography commands the highest prices. These are impressive pieces that grab attention, while smaller ones offer a more discreet but powerful impression.
As with painting, purchasing prints signed by the artist greatly increases the value of your piece. Limited photography will hold, keep, and appreciate value, whereas simple reproductions will not. When exploring photography, you’ll find a wide array of styles and new trends. The field is always discovering new ways to frame the world we live in, which helps make it such a fun place to research and invest in.
Sculpture breaks us out into three dimensions. Most sculpture is meant to be seen in the round — a unique pleasure for the collector. Like prints for two dimensional art, casts allow multiple objects to be created to the same form. This, like prints, can lower initial investment while still holding and appreciating value.
Sculpture can be made through additive processes (like clay) or subtractive processes (like limestone or marble). A major trend in galleries are sculptures created in computer aided design programs and formed using 3D printing. While it is an exciting field, it is not clear if these will hold and appreciate in value.
So Which is Best?
The best art investment today depends on the investor. If you have a lot of money to get started, buying originals from artists with a reputation will yield you strong returns. If you have less money, find artists earlier on in their career and try less expensive formats to build your collection.
Also consider what art you enjoy. If you aren’t personally interested in the work you buy, you will be missing out on so much of what makes art a preferred way to invest. Once you’ve narrowed down what is the best art to buy for investment, it’s finally time to buy the art.
Where to Invest
Buying art comes down to a few main outlets. Galleries, auctions, and directly from the artist. The primary market is art that has never been sold before. On the other hand, the secondary market, contains art that has been sold before. Galleries and auctions often deal in both, while artists typically only sell their artwork once.
Buying from galleries is a good idea if you are an art lover. What could be more fun than perusing the art galleries available to you to find the exact right fit? Art galleries are run by art dealers who have a “stable” of artists that they can connect you to.
Always be sure to research the reputation of a gallery before buying from one.
Art auctions are a great place to buy art while feeling out the market. Doing research ahead of time to know what will be on the block and what you are willing to pay for what you want gives you a major leg up. But remember to stick to the limits you set yourself.
Art brokers are specialists in a field of study who help auctions (and museums) purchase art and know the full value of it.
Directly from the Artist
Buying artwork directly from the artist has the benefit of eliminating the middle-man. The trick is getting in contact with an artist you want to purchase from. Most major cities host art fairs, which can be a great place to meet artists — not to mention they’re a ton of fun. In this day and age, you can also get in contact with most artists through their personal website.
If you are looking to jump into art investment today or are simply curious— the art market is an interesting and ever changing place. No matter what you decide, a theme repeated is that investors who do their research and take time making the right purchases will, over time, have the best outcomes.
important disclosure: please always check with your financial advisor or licensed investment specialist to learn more about how opportunities may affect your own strategies This post attempts to stimulate interest in the topic, but isn’t intended to be used as financial advice.