Art Investment: A Creative Next Step

We’ve all heard about it – the people who find an old painting in their attic and become instant millionaires. But in reality, most of us don’t have a spare Picasso just lying around. This doesn’t mean we can’t think about investing in art, though. Art investment is certainly an interesting and viable way of getting a good return on your money. It can also involve a research process that’s more interesting than just thinking about investment funds and high interest bank accounts.

But art investment might sound like a bit of a confusing place to start. There’s advice everywhere about how to invest in hedge funds, but how do you know which paintings are going to sell? How do we know which artists of today are going to suddenly become invaluable in fifty years’ time? More importantly, do we want to wait that long? It can be hard to know whether it’s best to buy cheap paintings and hope they get more valuable, or buy something already expensive and hope its value grows. Luckily, there are people and places that can help.

Art Investment: Gaugin's painting is the most expensive of all time.

Image credit: The Telegraph


Where Do You Start With Art Investment?

Some of the most expensive paintings of all time are paintings you might never have heard of. In 2015, Paul Gaugin’s 1982 picture, “When Will You Marry,” became the world’s most expensive artwork when it sold for $300 million. This puts it ahead of Cezanne’s “The Card Players” ($274 million) and Mark Rothko’s “No 6” ($186 million). But is it a good painting? Is it nice to look at? Does that even matter?

These are questions that are a struggle for the layman, but for some people, this is their job. The Saatchi Gallery makes it its business to provide potential art investors with curators who can advise about what is selling and what looks set to become the investment material of the future. Currently, And this isn’t necessarily a market restricted to those with millions to spend. Zatista provides a simple platform for people to buy and sell art using helpful guidelines at a range of prices — Zatista groups paintings according to their price, starting with those under $500. Sure, some of your paintings may turn out not to become multi-million dollar spinners. But sites like these can suggest which are likely to increase in value as time goes on. If a $500 painting triples in value, that’s $1000 profit.

The Telegraph: Cezanne

Art Investment In New Artists

Of course, when most people think about investing in art, they’re imagining buying paintings from well known artists and hoping they get more valuable over time. This is, after all, what art galleries and high level art dealers do. But there’s something to be said, as well, for interacting with people who know about the emerging art world. After all, Picasso was an unknown once. If you have one of his early works hanging in your house, you’re rich.

Artist Bank  allows you not only to buy and sell art by established artists, it will also help you with commissioning artists currently working. This may be more for those who want to find someone to craft the perfect piece for the living room wall, but why not use your money in two ways at the same time? If you can find an artist poised to become well known, who will craft you what you want, and you’re advised that their work is going to become valuable in a short space of time, well — you may have found the best possible investment opportunity for creative types. It’s certainly worth thinking about if you might have bought art anyway. At the moment, there are several artists on Artist Bank whose work is selling at extremely high prices. Fadhel Albanna and Piero Piero Manascalco are only two of the more high value artists whose work can be purchased through the site. Bhakta Das‘s work has also been selling very well. These artists are not yet reaching paytags into the millions, but they are ones to watch — a painting worth £47,000 today could be worth £47 million in ten years’ time.

Art Investment: Picasso

The Telegraph: Picasso

Art investment in the hopes of making huge returns can be risky. Recently, the global art market has been booming, with 2014 sales reaching £37 billion. This is understandable given the low state of current credit and therefore the low return on traditional investments like savings accounts. But what can an investor really expect?

Melanie Gerlis suggests that art investment will return a compound of about 4% after five to ten years. This is based on choosing a painting sure to become more valuable, at a steady rate. So art is not a surefire way to become rich quick.

The thing is, though, there is certainly an appeal to art exactly because it is unpredictable. Artists like Banksy can emerge quickly and suddenly become hugely valuable. Art investment is also not really tied to equity markets, so can provide very good diversification. Investment advisors suggest that if you like art, the best idea is to try out the art investment market by first of all buying something you like and can afford. It may not show huge returns, but if it doesn’t, you’ll have something you can keep for your own enjoyment.

If it does show great returns — well. Then a whole new market may just have opened itself to you.

Art Investment

The Telegraph: Banksy