Why Investing in the Art Market?

Why Investing in the Art Market?

The art world is often seen as forbidding for all but expert collectors. Am I buying a genuine work? Is the price right? Is the investment really a sound one? Is art the preserve of an elite? Especially on the internet, it’s difficult to trust a seller in the absence of any physical contact.

Let’s start with the most conceptual question – is art the preserve of an elite?

No, absolutely not. Obviously, it’s difficult to get hold of top-level works and objects as they are generally one-off pieces. But, as Forbes commented, "you have to differentiate between ready to wear and haute couture, and so distinguish between everyday objects and exceptional items".
Works by a well-known artist are not necessarily expensive. Art works are not always unique creations. If one’s budget is limited or one hasn’t yet become an expert in the sector, it’s better to concentrate on multiple works, especially lithographs and engravings.
Few people know that you can buy an unsigned work by Picasso for less than €2500 and, for a piece signed in pencil, for € 4300 upwards.

Here are some more examples:

Salvador Dalì: one of his signed lithographs can cost as little as €1650.
Marc Chagall: one of his books, containing reproductions of his splendid woodcuts, costs €250 and a plate-signed lithograph can be yours for about €1300.

Is art a good investment?

People were collecting art more than 1000 years ago, although for a long time this was a pursuit reserved for the rich. But now the art market is accessible to everyone, as noted by the French daily Capital: "From 500,000 collectors after the war, consumers of art have grown to more than 70 million across all continents". The art market has slowed down but results from major auction houses such as Christie's are encouraging, with sales rates close to 90 percent in 2017.

According to Capital, "Based on millions of transactions, Artprice calculates that the return on a work worth €20,000 averages 9 percent per annum, increasing to 12–15 percent for something worth €100,000". In general, the art market has emerged unscathed from every financial crisis since 2000 and has out-performed the stock market. Overall, fewer masterpieces are sold and global sales are lower in value but not in quantity. For example, in terms of volume the art market has grown 1200 percent since 2000.

And then there’s the question of taxes. Investing in art allows one to diversify one’s portfolio and in France, for example, it enables one to pay much less tax, or at least to enjoy significant benefits.

Where to start from?

First of all, we advise our clients to choose works on the basis of their own tastes because a work of art is often a lifelong investment. That’s why it should be liked by the buyer, who will keep it in his or her home and admire it for as long as they wish. We therefore start from the premise that, in order to start a collection, everything depends on what people are looking for and what they like best. People can have various motives for starting a collection: they may want to follow a specific artist, or they may have money to invest, or again they may have a special need (e.g. to decorate a space in style).
The following link has a selection of contemporary works for under €500: click here.

People often think that investing in art is the same as buying a painting. No, it isn’t. For example, splendid objects like lamps or armchairs by famous designers cost much the same as relatively well-known paintings. Two notable examples are Gae Aulenti’s rocking chair, Yngve Ekstrom’s famous chairs, and pieces of furniture designed by Gio’ Ponti.

The simplest and most elegant solution is to go for a well-known designer lamp. From Stilnovo to Poliarte, and from Stilux to Venini, Wallector offers you a wide variety of designer lamps that can change and enrich the look of your home. Wallector has experts and consultants on hand to help you make the best investment on the basis of your budget, tastes and expectations. Simply contact them at info@wallector.com.

Gallery, internet or auction?

Obviously, it’s easier to get a better purchase price at an auction, but if you’re not an expert and get carried away in the heat of the moment, the likely result is that you’ll end up going over your budget and paying more than the object is worth. The final price for something you set your heart on depends partly on the competition from other buyers, and partly on the various commissions added. We don’t advise you to take part in an auction unless you’re an expert. It requires exhaustive preparatory work, from checking out the prices, to any significant elements that may send the price up or down, to obtaining a complete report on an item’s condition. Attending an auction also requires a great deal of patience and concentration as the risk of overspending one’s budget is always there.
That is why it’s advisable for beginners to buy directly from a physical gallery or online. Lastly, the art market is based on supply and demand. So don’t hesitate to contact a gallery and to bargain about the terms. Online prices are always clear and it is always possible, under European law, to return any goods purchased within a specific period of time.

And finally, what should I be careful of and what should I ask a gallery?

Ask whether the work is hand-signed and possibly obtain a certificate of authenticity. It’s better to ask for a complete declaration regarding the condition of the work to avoid subsequently discovering later that it had hidden defects.
At Wallector we always mention on a product’s factsheet whether it has any defects and if it is hand-signed; and our works are always accompanied by a certificate of authenticity provided by the author, by the foundation responsible or by one of our experts.
In order to invest, you no longer need to be an insider. Thanks to internet, it is easy to comparison-shop among galleries and make them compete for your custom, as well as to find out about prices and ask for better terms at any time of the day and during weekends too.

Forbes: L’Art Est-Il Un Bon Investissement ? (published on 9/8/2017, accessed on 26/03/2018)
Capital: INVESTIR DANS L’ART PEUT RAPPORTER GROS, ENCORE FAUT-IL SAVOIR COMMENT S’Y PRENDRE ! (published on 04/08/2016, accessed on 26/03/018)
Finansemble : L'art contemporain (accessed on 26/03/2018)

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