Art Investment

The Smith & Partner guide to investing in art

The fine art market is a thriving one, and there is a large supply of limited edition art prints produced every year. More importantly, the demand for these prints seems to be growing at a constant, steady rate regardless of local, national or even global economic wobbles. Indeed, there are many experts who consider fine art investment to be a better option than commodities such as gold, even in trying economic times.

The art market has been tracked and analyzed on a professional level for many decades. The results have been very encouraging to the market, though they have not been widely disseminated – the trend is to keep a ‘good thing’ to one’s self. Experts like Wolfgang Wilke (Dresdner Bank, 2000) have found that on average fine art and limited edition art print sale prices rise more than comparable goods in times of short-term economic recovery, and follow the overall economic trend with a positive bias.

The fine art market is really 2 different markets – those for the lower end and higher end pieces. The lower end of the fine art market tends to be more volatile than the high end. Prices rise quickly in strong economies and fall quickly in weak ones.

"There are no rules about investment. Sharks can be good. Artist’s dung can be good. Oil canvas can be good."

- Charles Saatchi
investment-graphics

Who actually buys fine art and limited edition art prints, and who do they buy from?

Within the art market, the majority of the buyers are high net worth individuals – specific people with the resources to invest in this unique commodity. Next come art dealers, both individual and
corporate, and museums.

The majority of sellers in the art investment market are not individual artists. Auction houses and galleries account for the bulk of the pieces sold as they have the reputations and contact networks among suitable buyers to make the effort economically feasible.

Only a few artists sell a great deal of work personally, and then only the most well-known.

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