Investing in art isn’t just about buying beautiful pieces.
It’s about embarking on an exciting adventure, discovering new artists, understanding the ups and downs of the art market, and getting a good, positive experience from each purchase.
It’s about balancing personal tastes with savvy investment decisions.
Whether you’re a newbie looking for your first piece or a seasoned collector aiming to diversify, we take a look at art investment to help you with your journey.
Table of Contents
- Art investment timing blends research, intuition, and strategy, with financial stability being paramount.
- Investing in art early in emerging artists and diversifying your art collection can yield significant benefits.
- Global events, personal passion, and post major exhibitions can influence when and what art to buy.
- Protecting your investment involves a combination of proper handling, conservation, and security measures.
- Specialist art insurance is crucial for comprehensive coverage, ensuring protection against theft, damage, and value depreciation.
A New Era of Investing in Art
The art market is undergoing an evident transformation.
With millennials at the helm, new patterns of collecting and investing in art are emerging.
Traditional investment avenues like stocks are being side-stepped in favour of tangible, long-term investments that hold value and echo individuality.
With Sky Arts data revealing that a third of Brits now proudly display works of local artists in their homes, it’s clear that a paradigm shift is in motion.
Maria Artool, the visionary CEO of the International Body of Art (IBA), sheds light on this transition, highlighting how millennials are navigating this new age of art investment.
Investing in art might seem like threading through a minefield.
Surprisingly though, many start their collections with a modest budget, often less than £1,000. London, a hub of art and culture, houses iconic art fairs such as Frieze, the Affordable Art Fair, and the Other Art Fair.
These platforms curate an amalgamation of both established and emerging artists.
Immersing oneself in such environments not only offers potential collectors a visual feast but also a direction on where and who to invest in.
Reports from UBS suggest a thriving art scene, even amidst economic challenges. In 2022, 74% of collectors had procured work at an art fair.
Such fairs aren’t just purchase points but melting pots of artists, curators, and art enthusiasts.
For novices, these platforms present a kaleidoscope of options, guiding them in their initial purchases.
Art fairs are more than just commercial venues; they’re ecosystems of connectivity, ideation, and relationship-building.
They offer investors not just art, but stories, allowing them to forge personal connections with the pieces they acquire.
Further Thoughts on Timing and Considerations for Investing in Art
Investing in art is both an exciting and nuanced endeavouring beyond art fairs as already noted, there a myriad of things to consider to help determine when and how to make a move into the art market:
- Personal Financial Stability:
- To reiterate first, ensure that your personal finances are in order.
- Art is a long-term investment, often taking years or even decades to appreciate significantly.
- It’s essential to have liquidity for other needs without relying on the quick sale of an artwork.
- Market Research:
- Continuously educate yourself about the art world.
- The best times to buy can often be when the overall economy is in a downturn, and sellers are more willing to negotiate on prices.
- Conversely, during economic booms, especially in emerging markets, new wealthy buyers can drive up prices.
- Recognising these cycles can be beneficial.
- Emerging Artists:
- Invest in emerging artists early in their careers.
- Attending graduate shows, smaller galleries, or artist-run initiatives can introduce you to budding talent before their prices skyrocket.
- Estate Sales or Auctions:
- Sometimes, artworks from renowned artists become available at estate sales or auctions at more accessible price points than galleries.
- Just as with any investment, it’s wise not to put all your money into one artist or even one style or era.
- By diversifying your collection, you spread the risk.
- Global Trends and Events:
- Political or economic disruptions can affect the art market.
- For example, economic growth in Asia has introduced many new collectors to the market, pushing up prices for particular genres or artists.
- Sentiment and Passion:
- While not a purely financial metric, investing in art should also come from a place of passion.
- If you truly love a piece, it might be the right time to buy.
- After all, even if its monetary value doesn’t skyrocket, its emotional value can be immeasurable.
- Seek Expert Advice:
- Art advisers or consultants can offer valuable insights into when to buy or sell, especially if you’re new to the art market.
- Post Major Exhibitions:
- After a significant museum exhibition or a critically acclaimed show, artists often see a spike in interest and value.
- While buying right after such a high-profile event might mean paying a premium, it can also indicate the artist’s trajectory is on the rise.
6 Contemporary Artists from Across the Globe Worth Considering Investing In
The art world is vast and wonderfully diverse, spanning across continents and cultures. Here’s a list of six contemporary artists from different regions who are making waves and are poised for further recognition:
- North America – Toyin Ojih Odutola: With her detailed pen-and-ink drawings, Odutola challenges conventional ideas about identity and race. Her exhibitions, such as those at the Whitney Museum in New York, have earned her widespread acclaim.
- Africa – Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana): Known for his striking installations made from jute sacks, Mahama’s works serve as poignant commentaries on trade, labour, and the remnants of colonialism.
- Asia – Yayoi Kusama (Japan): An avant-garde legend, Kusama’s immersive infinity rooms and signature polka dots have been captivating audiences worldwide for decades.
- Europe – Olafur Eliasson (Iceland/Denmark): An artist and environmental activist, Eliasson’s large-scale installations and sculptures often play with light, shadow, and the viewer’s perception, creating immersive experiences.
- Australia – Patricia Piccinini (Australia): Renowned for her hyperrealistic sculptures that blend human and animal elements, Piccinini’s work delves into the intersections of nature, technology, and evolution.
- South America – Os Gemeos (Brazil): Twin brothers Otávio and Gustavo Pandolfo, known collectively as Os Gemeos, are famed for their large-scale murals that often feature yellow-skinned characters in dreamlike settings.
Each of these artists, representing distinct cultures and perspectives, contributes to the rich tapestry of the global art scene.
Investing in their works not only offers potential financial returns but also a meaningful connection to various facets of our shared human experience.
How to Protect Your Art Investment
Once you’ve started investing in art, it’s crucial to consider how you’ll protect that investment.
Whether you own a single piece or an expansive collection, you’ll want to ensure that your art remains in impeccable condition and is shielded from potential risks.
Here’s a guide on how to keep your art investments safe:
- Proper Handling and Display:
- Always handle artworks with clean hands or wear white cotton gloves.
- Ensure that artworks, especially paintings, are hung away from direct sunlight, which can cause fading or deterioration.
- Avoid placing art near heating vents, fireplaces, or damp areas, which can cause warping, mould growth, or other damage.
- Transport with Care:
- If you need to move your art, consider hiring professional art handlers or movers experienced in transporting delicate items.
- For significant pieces, utilise custom crates that provide a protective environment.
- Conservation and Maintenance:
- Periodically inspect your artwork for signs of wear, damage, or ageing.
- For artworks that are particularly delicate or valuable, consider hiring a professional conservator for regular maintenance or restorative work.
- Security Measures:
- Install a robust security system in your home or wherever you store the art. This could include cameras, motion sensors, and alarms.
- Use secure hanging systems to prevent theft and to ensure that artworks won’t accidentally fall.
- Specialist Art Insurance:
- Standard home insurance policies often don’t cover artworks, especially valuable ones, or they might only offer limited coverage.
- Invest in specialist art insurance which is designed specifically to cover artworks. Such policies often consider the unique value of art, which might appreciate over time.
- A specialist insurance policy can offer coverage for a range of art related risks including theft, damage, loss during transit, and even depreciation in an artwork’s value following damage.
- Regularly update your policy, especially after new acquisitions or if an artwork appreciates in value.
- Keep a thorough record of all your artworks. This should include receipts, provenance, certificates of authenticity, valuation documents, and any correspondence related to the artwork.
- Photograph your artworks from multiple angles and store these images safely.
- Regular Appraisals:
- As the art market fluctuates, the value of your artwork may change. Regularly get your collection appraised by professionals to ensure you’re adequately insured and aware of your investment’s current worth.
- Climate Control:
- Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can damage art, especially works on paper or canvas. Consider installing a climate control system or use dehumidifiers in storage areas.
- Storage Solutions:
- If you’re storing art, use acid-free materials and ensure the storage area meets all the conditions necessary for preserving the artwork.
Protecting your art investment goes beyond just financial considerations.
Art, inherently, is a piece of history, emotion, and an artist’s essence. By taking the steps to safeguard it, you ensure that this legacy—both in value and in cultural significance—endures for generations to come.
Investing in specialist insurance and employing preventive measures will offer you peace of mind and the assurance that your treasured pieces remain pristine.
This article is for information. The value of investments and the associated income can go down as well as up. As with all investments, you need to consider your level of risk appetite as you decide where to invest and make your own judgements. If in question seek independent financial advice.