Heart For Art, Studio

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“A piece of art might have a certain value in terms of dollars, but like a family heirloom, the worth goes beyond monetary value.”

(this article was originally published on stefanbaumann.com)

These days, many long-term investors look to diversify their portfolios by investing in different, even exotic, asset classes. Some prefer to put their money in rare coins and jewels, while others invest in fine wines. One investment class quickly gaining in popularity is artwork. Not only can fine art enhance your home décor and evoke powerful emotions, it can appreciate in value simply by hanging on your living room wall.

The myths about investing in art have always kept the average person from entering this potentially lucrative venture. “I don’t know anything about art. Investing in art is only for the rich. What if I get ripped off?” These are all legitimate concerns, but they can be quickly broken down with a bit of research and knowledge.

If you’re wondering whether it is feasible to earn a profit from investing in art, consider this: According to Art Market Research, the price of art has risen more than 1,000% in the last 40 years. Recent years have shown a consistent rise of 25% or more. These kinds of returns have the investment world very interested – not only are large and small investors starting their own private collections, but many art investment funds have opened their doors and are ready for business.

Whether you want to buy into a fund, start your own collection, or just purchase a few pieces to decorate your home, the best thing you can do is educate yourself. If you have an investment time horizon of 10 years or more, the wonderful and profitable world of art may be right for you.

Types of Art

There are many types of art a new investor might explore. Novices tend to automatically think of paintings, but art spans a wide variety of media, styles, and classifications. According to Zatista, an online art gallery that sells original art, different types (or “disciplines”) include painting, drawing, photography, digital, mixed media, sculpture, prints, and even video.

There are a few more types of art that might also be considered, initiating heated debate among purists. The key to making a determination, however, is in the creators of the work. Are they artists or craftspeople? Is the work in question a one-of-a-kind piece, or are there several in existence?

Generally, production potters and glassblowers are not considered artists – there is nothing unique in the pieces they produce. Some, however, use these media exclusively to create unique works, have gained a certain amount of fame doing so, and are by and large considered artists.

Originals vs. Copies

Original works are the most highly valued pieces in the art world, but even a copy can be worth something. To know if your copy will appreciate in value, you have to be armed with certain knowledge.

  • Originals. An originalis a one-of-a-kind work of art. This is what most art investors purchase when speculating in the sector. Generally, it is the rarity of the original that justifies the high price.
  • Prints. Even though a print is a copy, it is still considered a work of art and can have value. A print is produced through a variety of techniques, giving it a quality, clarity, and a visual impact that rivals the original. Prints are a way for investors with limited funds to begin their collections. A word of caution, however: Some prints appreciate in value, but some do not. For example, limited edition prints are prints that the artist has agreed to run a finite amount of, say 50 or 100. Sometimes the artist autographs a print in the margin, which raises the value considerably.
  • Gicleés. Another kind of print known as a giclée (pronounced zhee-klay) is the highest quality print available today. The resolution of a giclée is far superior to other types of prints, and this fact is certainly represented in its price. Many dealers classify these prints as “museum quality” and even give you a certificate of authenticity. However, it’s important to note that it’s still just a copy.
  • Reproductions. Posters, also known as reproductions, are copies of original works without a limited run of printing. These are great for art collectors on a budget, but are not worth much as far as investment value goes.
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