There are primarily 2 ways in which one could invest in Art:
1. Investing in individual pieces of art work similar to buying shares of a particular company or
2. Investing in an Art Fund which is similar to investing in a mutual fund, where there is no possession of the art work
This article discusses what we need to look for while investing in Individual artists and artworks.
Like the stock market, there are some key attributes that you should be aware of before buying an artwork. The artist is the brand (like a company) and the products are the artworks he produces, therefore it is pertinent that one invests in a good artist. How to judge whether an artist is good? Here is a check list of factors that you can use:
1. How famous is the artist? – A little bit of research will let you know who the well bought artists are, who the emerging artists are and the ones that are promising starters. You need to make the decision between these different categories of artists. For the very famous ones, your budget needs to be higher than for a promising star, which may have high appreciation potential.
2. What is the artist’s training background, is he/she from a famous art school? – did he/she train under a famous artist? – Most galleries have a bias against self-taught artists (the artists who do not have a formal education), but this doesn’t mean there are no talented self taught artists – MF Hussain, Bhupen Khakhar are the most prominent ones.
3. How many shows or exhibitions has the artist done in the past and in which galleries? – The more the better, since galleries only host artists that they think will sell well.
4. How long has the artist been painting? - The longer the better, as style and technique matures over the years, with experience.
5. The number of awards and accolades won by the artist – Awards and accolades given by recognized national and international art institutions.
6. The workshops and other learning events attended – Workshops help an artist learn and grow in creativity, technique and outlook.
7. The number of international shows exhibitions – International shows and exhibitions proves that the artist is not only a good artist but also a good PR person, which is important to sell art.
8. Find out whether reputed art institutions like museums, organizations have the artist’s work in their collection.
9. Does the artist have a unique style – This can be found from reviews written on the artist or by comparing his works to others
10. But the most important question is DO YOU LIKE THE ARTWORK, because it will be hanging on your wall for sometime.
The above checklist should help you select a good artist for the purpose of investment.
• It is best to acquaint yourself with the art scene before making a decision to purchase a piece. It is advisable to visit art shows, galleries and use the internet to read reviews and article on art.
•All galleries have artist biographies on their websites, which provide most of the information needed as above. Some sample biographies :
o CF John / Asma Menon / Yashwant Shirwadkar
• In the event of purchasing, please make sure to get an authenticity certificate – preferably from the artist himself.
Happy Art Investing !
Above : An untitled portrait by TM Azis