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

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