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Adriano Dulgher art investment consultant

by Adriano Dulgher

22 March '19

Investing in art - tips from art investment consultant


Which paintings stand the most chance of rising in value over time


Let’s underline what makes art sought-after by investors. The key word here is the investment. Many are drawn to the market because of the returns that can be gained, however, someone has to work hard to identify which paintings stand the most chance of rising in value over time.

Let me show why art investment can be a lucrative endeavor.

In 1941 Picasso himself sold one of his paintings 'Le Reve' for $7,000. Equals to $37,000 in present-day money. In 2013 it was sold for the price of $155 mln. Despite huge profit, the time span of 72 years balances the annualized rate on investment at 14.91%. Considering a historical inflation average of 2.17% for the dollar, the net equals 12.74%.

Masterworks art investment is great, but the truth is that sales like these are not flukes. A lot of planning goes into achieving such returns, and some of the things the most successful investors will bring to the table include a wealth of knowledge on the artist, artwork and dealer or art consultant; understanding of the historical significance of the artwork and artistic movement it belongs to; and close relationships with dealers and taste-makers.

If the temptation of buying art as an investment is simply too strong to ignore, it is essential to immerse yourself in the art world as much as possible by learning the trade. Knowledge is king.

Engaging with online resources such as Artnet and Artprice won’t get you far. Reading books about the market and the history of art as a whole is too late; Live auctions on websites such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s will not reward you with more knowledge but will definitely add to time wasting. There is only so much you can do online.

To improve your chances to connect to investment grade art, it helps if you build connections and form relationships with people on the front lines. That means going to galleries, museums, and exhibitions to meet with curators, art collectors, professional art investment consultants and even artists themselves. Oops, sounds like you need another 30 years added to your life.

When starting out, it is not uncommon for people to make an investment in a piece of art based on little more than a gut feeling. Not every piece of art accrues in value though, and it is quite an illiquid medium.

Buying art as an investment is not only a way of accruing valuable assets - it can also transform a house, yacht, airplane into a home and add elegance.

Someone said art is known for retaining its value in times of economic uncertainty. Like any other asset class, it is wise to hedge your bets when initially building a fine art portfolio. Many first-time art investors simply may not be able to cross no matter how hard they try; the buy and sell issue of capital.

The art market can be very top-heavy, with a lot of money circulating around blue-chip art names such as Picasso but be aware of Andy Warhol or Hirst and platforms were investors could potentially own shares in famous artworks. Unless it goes through securities and exchange commission you may be left out with the word 'famous' only.

For many investors, the market has grown too big to ignore. Last year global sales reached $63.7 billion, according to an Art Basel and UBS report. Art has delivered average annual returns of 8.9 % since 2000. Cut the inflation rate so you get the feeling of reality.

Of course, problems may arise, the market is unregulated and sometimes extremely illiquid. Gallery owners and auction houses charge commissions of 25 percent or more, sometimes negotiable, and art buyers must avoid the pitfalls of forgeries, fakes and rapidly changing tastes.

Today’s art market is a far cry from 20 years ago. The Internet and a proliferation of art fairs have made more art accessible to more people than ever before. The time available to make a decision has shortened dramatically. When you go to an art fair, you have one hour to decide whether or not to spend that one million.

While some art collectors have made fortunes, Goldsmith says the world is littered with warehouses of art that have depreciated as much as 90 percent. Why?

Art today is less interesting; we lack authentic artists. 80% of art produced shall be questioned in the nearest future if it is art at all?

Design maybe but art? - definitely not. Imagine the disappointment of the young collectors who splash money at art fairs. Reminds of a street market, long alley crowded with stalls and kiosks, terrible places to appreciate art. Contemporary art investment is risky.

"While buying a $20 million Picasso may not be the best way to start building a collection, you shouldn’t go too low."

You can buy stuff for $10,000 but most likely it is 'Zombies on the Walls' and not going to appreciate much. $80,000-$100,000 in a specialized art gallery is a good starting place.

The future of art has to be something that will give us a bit of slow. An artist who makes a difference is worth searching for.

About author Adriano Dulgher was born 1986 in London. He studied Media, Arts and Design at Westminister University, London. Lives in London. Has a strong background in placing works of art in private and corporate collections. Abstract art. Price range GBP50,000 - GBP15 mln. Tel: +44 (788) 306-9856 E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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