Investing Information

Art Investing for a Financial Future

When we think of investing we probably conjure images in our minds of the New York Stock Exchange, suited stock brokers making deals, bonds and treasury bills, and all manner of financial matters. The last thing we probably think about is art. Art investing, however, can be a big money business, and can create incredible financial gains and losses for those who choose to speculate in the art market.

Art investments can be risky, because no one ever knows for sure if an artist's work is ever going to be appreciated. Even living fine artists who make a living doing their work are producing paintings and other artwork that may not be worth anything more than was paid for the work until well after the artist is dead and gone. When Keith Herring started painting his colorful silhouettes, there was scarcely anyone willing to pay attention to them. Once he died of AIDS and his work became associated with the national AIDS awareness campaign, the value of his work skyrocketed.

It's difficult to give advice regarding art investments, but there are a few guidelines that the potential art investor can look at to help determine whether a particular artist's work is worth purchasing.

How Known is the Artist?

Artists that are already well known tend to remain well known once they're gone and their work becomes that much more valuable. When considering an art purchase, taking the artist's fame into account can be a good idea. Of course, artwork by someone who is already famous for something else (the lithographs of John Lennon come to mind) will always be of some value.

Controversy Sells

If an artist raises eyebrows, it is likely that her work will rise in value. The work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is a prime example. Whether his photos were truly offensive or not makes no difference when considering that the attention brought to him by a senate investigation cause the value of his photographs to double practically overnight.

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