Collecting and Investing

I feel so lucky and delighted to have found you and your web site today. Thank you for an hour’s patient (sic) telephone tutorial and for your forum material – all of great interest. Your love of these prints and your consequent care of apprentice lovers like myself give a delightful foretaste of how life will be when human values (beauty, love, truth, justice, all that jazz……) rule the world. I’d expected a huge flash plate-glass office outfit, with scary secretaries and bosses who scorned my ignorance. I almost couldn’t make the call. Boy am I glad I did.

You have prompted a (for me) revolutionary thought: if Picasso prints do indeed continue to appreciate apace, why should I not buy some for myself (my love of these prints is of course the real driving force behind all this), hold a few of these marvels in my house for a few years and then sell rather than put my savings in some damned exploiting bank and live off the interest – as I do now, with perhaps 20 years left to live and small savings to support them? —Alison T.

Response: My pleasure. I agree about the investment plan as rationalization for Picasso purchases–it’s certainly the rationalization I’ve always used. My only disagreement is with your projected longevity. I know better than to inquire about your age, but what do say we be more optimistic? After all, Picasso himself lived to 92, and that’s with chain-smoking and without the benefit of all sorts of interval medical advances, not to mention the UK’s wondrous socialized medical system!

Investment-Grade Picasso Prints

Question [paraphrased from a phone conversation]: Could you recommend those works in your catalogue which in particular would have the maximal future appreciation? -Daniella R.

Response: I readily agree with your comment on the phone that not all Picassos are “created equal”, shall we say. Though many Picasso prints are truly masterworks, some clearly are not. The point is that, just like the stock market, the Picasso market already takes such factors into consideration when arriving at a valuation of each of his works. Furthermore, all of his works seem to appreciate in parallel. Provided that the price is right to begin with, appreciation is to be expected across the board. The nice thing about this is that a collector should therefore feel free to invest in whatever she finds most aesthetically appealing within her price range. -Kobi

Art as Investment

Question: Basically we’re new to buying art, so we are in the learning process, and, as much as people say, “Don’t buy art as investment,” it’s hard not to think that way. –Luke P.

Response: I agree with you that it’s hard not to think of art as an investment, particularly when you’re paying a pretty penny for the art. I’ve always used the allure of the investment as a rationalization for collecting art, especially when I could ill afford it, but, to avoid self-delusion, the art must be truly collectible to qualify. Investing in a blue-chip artist is like buying blue chip stocks, unless you’re convinced you’ve spotted the next Picasso or the next Cisco.

I don’t entirely agree with the statement that you shouldn’t buy art as an investment, except to the extent that if you see it only as an investment, securities are easier to handle. On the other hand, stock certificates don’t go very far in beautifying your walls. To the extent that your life may be enriched by coming into contact with great art each day, it makes more sense to invest in it.

One of the fun things about collecting, or the joy of the hunt, as opposed to owning and daily appreciating the art, especially for those of us without unlimited funds, is finding those great works that for whatever reason are undervalued in the market and are therefore relative bargains. (Those are some of the Picassos that I especially like to stock.) -Kobi