The Art of Investing in Art

Investing in art

Art investing is an art more than it is a science. The art investing does require discipline, research, knowledge and some common sense.

The term common sense is relative. Common refers to the time, place, and social mood of the society we live in at the time of the potential investment.

Who am I to be talking about this? Well, I have made tens of thousands of dollars investing in and selling art. This is one of the ways I support myself as an artist.

There is always a heavy demand for fresh mediocrity. In every generation the least cultivated taste has the largest appetite.
.....................................Paul Gauguin

Two Basic Rules

The most obvious rule of the art of investing in art is only invest what you can afford to. This is a basic rule of all investments except traditionally the expression is only invest what you can afford to lose. With art there is no loss if you follow a second rule.

If you start art collecting, your art investment will always have a personal value to you. You will always provide enjoyment for you.

Only buy what you like and would want to own.

Investing in art is...

  • Part rocket science,
  • Part intuition,
  • Part perspiration,
  • Part planets aligning at the right time.

Ok, it is not rocket science. There is some interesting science behind art. If falls into a few categories.

Visual Appeal

Art has to meet several criteria to have visual appeal. Many of these traits have been studied and there is indeed some interesting scientific aspects to how we view and appreciate art.

As a general rule, most people do not buy things they do not like. You can never go wrong this way. If you have to hold onto a piece for a long time to sell it, you can at least enjoy it while you wait.

The Psychology of Color

The Psychology of color can also have an effect on how the art is perceived and appreciated.

Social Mood

An interesting theory called the Elliot Wave Theory has quite successfully predicted the rise and fall of the stock market based on social mood. It falls into a science called fractals and the Fibonacci code or Fibonacci Sequence.

Historically, the social mood has gravitated toward dark, gloomy, horror, monsters and the like when social mood has turned dark. Look at when the first Frankenstein movie came out.

Look at all the horror movies that made it to box office success and correlate it to the stock market and you will see an interesting pattern. A down pattern.


Not everyone liked Andy Warhol when he got started. Look at the value his pieces fetch today. It takes having a feel that the artist your looking at has something that not only speaks to you, it speaks to a lot of people.


Investment in art is, well, an art. It will require work and time to educate yourself.

Like the art of Medicine, it can be studied as a science but it’s practice is as an art.

The Art is Part Planets Aligning at the Right Time

I for one do not believe in luck. I do not think there is such a thing. If you believe in coincidence on the other hand, consider what happened September 11th to the World Trade Center. There is a reason why some lived and some did not.

If you are from my generation you will know who the band group the Byrds were. They had a song based on the Bible book of Ecclesiastes. If you go to that same book of Ecclesiastes and look up Chapter 9 and verse 11, you will find out why some people win and some people lose.

This is just a brief look at the art of investing in art. There will be more so check back. If you start art collecting, more importantly start art investing, you will be opening a whole new world for your self.

Best wishes on your becoming an art investor.

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