Is art an investment? (A series in 6 parts)

Part I - The initiation
Whether it is a telephone call to the potential customer or wishing someone happy birthday or the SOS to a dear friend in a moment of depression or angst - we are continually making investments in relationships. 

Art is also an investment... in relationships.
I am an art lover, continually discovering new treasures along a very pleasurable journey amid artists and connoisseurs; and therefore investing my time, energies, and efforts in bringing to light young talents that vie for appreciation amidst the already burgeoning realm of the art world today.

A painting by Milburn Cherian
Now don’t we always do every thing in our routine life considering it to be an investment in something?! Starting from our early days of schooling to selecting a profession and trying to survive in it, we make investments of time in the hope to accomplish something some day.

An unspoken bond with a visual that touches that hidden chord in your heart helps you fathom, probably that one nuance that makes your day! It is a very personal and individualistic nuance – this one. What may appeal to one may be lost on another but something in the visual touches a common chord in everyone - that strikes that brilliant form called success!

Let me start out with the selection of a work of art: How does one select and purchase a painting?

At Pradarshak, we simply advice our buyers to look, gauge and comprehend their own tastes first, before embarking on a purchase. A painting should be bought to generate a pleasurable feeling in you – one that you can live with 24/7, that which talks to you and makes you want to connect with it time and again. Now here one can observe a pattern – either a person delves deep into the art scenario, recognises the artists he can appreciate and gradually educates himself on the background and growth of the artist, before he decides to purchase a work of art by him. He thus builds his repertoire with diligent guidance and deliberation – where maybe some or all the works tend to appreciate with time – or maybe not. 

Contrary to this is the impulsive buyer who likes what he sees and decides to have it. This is more apt in the case of such buyers who feel visually enriched by surrounding themselves with aesthetically resplendent things and have an eye for something genuine, unique and outstanding. If such a work of art then appreciates in value, it makes the buyer feel even happier than he already is – simply more satisfied with his possession.
An organised collector on the other hand, does some prior research before embarking on a purchase, just as you would look at some equity research before taking that leap into buying shares or equity funds. You gather data to assure yourself of the right pick; consult a genuine expert or two and trust no one.


  1. Art is definitely an investment.The question is,"What is being invested?"Is it money?Mostly,that would be the case.It can also be an investment in one's self,if the art is uplifting and healing to the soulThat type of investment is priceless and transcends any amount of money,which doesn't really exist like a soul does.
    Posted by dan cope on

  2. I see the pervasive influx of the "conceptual" art concept twisting that investment.Invisible art,selling a wad of cash....just this off shoot of the "everything is relative"mind set leaves me with the idea that nothing is important.What a negative and vacuous way to see art and life.
    We need to educate these folks that just because you can...doesn't mean you otta.
    Anyway ,I vent.Now I go back to my easel.Yup.I use an easel and brushes and paint,oh my!.
    Posted by Ronald Gillis on

  3. Art is definatley an investment #1. An artist time devoted to any given art project, ie, the canvas work, the sculpture piece, the petition, the mural, etc. #2. The intellectual property that was created by said artist. #3. The supplies purchased by said artist.#4. The finishing touches upon the completed project. #5. The process of intorduction to the outside world of the arrival of the art item.#6. The invested time of the artist to inform the waiting audiance of the art item. #7. Marketing prepartion. #8. Setting value. #9. Insurance on the art. .#10 Selecting an quality print porfessionals to produce reproduction prints. #11.Locating venues to make the big introduction of the art item
    #12. Setting the price of the original, setting the price of the reproduction (If numbered series/limited editions, etc) #13. Giving the art an indentity, a story, a reason of it's significance, etc. There are three definitions of investments, once you have gain the complete and clear understanding of all three, you will hold art investment in a positive light. . #1. Art invetsment is a concept that was created to complete a resolution between a buy and a seller. The perception is ,if both parties agree on the price to sell/acquire, the value is set, thus an invetsment transaction . #2. It only takes two to make an investment a reality. #3.It is great odds that the buyer will realize a far greator increase in his/her invetsment purchase once he/she resell to another prospective buyer, thus an increase in his/her investment dollars to another party, thus the artist 's name shall reap reawrds of an established reputation among a building and growing circle of an investment interest overall.. That's your basic economic/philosophy of a birth of an investment. This structure applies to anything bought, sold, and or created under the sun.
    Posted by Phyllis Miller on LinkedIn Group
    'Art Marketing'

  4. It's all up to the viewer.Case in point;I once took some paint and literally flung it onto a canvas.Why I don't know.It just felt good to do.I showed it to my rep who said,"Honestly,Dan,sometimes I think you just like to throw paint around."I said,"Well,yes,Johnny,I do."Two years later,I showed it to my landlord(who wasn't an artsy type).He fell in love with it and I paid my rent with that painting.He still loves it and when I suggested that he sell it for more than the rent was worth he emphatically said,"No way!"My point is that my rep (an artsy type)didn't like it and wouldn't show it,thinking it was worthless,but someone else invested in it.Art has no rules.
    Posted by dan cope on LinkedIn Group 'Art Marketing'

  5. "Consult a genuine expert or two and trust no one."
    Posted by Vicky Margeti on LinkedIn Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange

  6. Besides authenticity, condition, and quality, how well one chooses the pieces and price points often determines if there are near future or long term future gains.

    There are some case studies of pension funds, art investment funds and others trying to profit by the upswing in parts of the artmarket. The results are usually mixed and depends on how transparent, intuitive, honest and good the art selectors are at choosing what to buy.

    Buying at retail is often difficult to overcome.

    The British Rail Pension fund proved, after selling its art investment holdings, that buying at the top of the market and paying top prices for the art offered, was not always the best way to invest. (But maybe they sold to early?)They barely kept up with the stock market in the days when the market was flat.

    Some collectors I know have made the stock market look like a slow boat to china with intuitive, speculative and quality buying- others get impatient, overspend and buy and sell at the wrong times.
    Posted by Walter Bazar on LinkedIn Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange

  7. I stopped driving a truck to support my Art 3 years ago bought Imac and have been on a search for Buyers ever since. But I still don't know where they hang out. All I need is a chance to talk about Art to them. Bunches of them. This is what makes any Art valuable the provenience. I am the source of the provenience for my Art.
    Posted by Dan Deming on LinkedIn Group: Fine Artists

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