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How to Invest in Artwork: 5 Things to Be Aware Of

Are you considering an art investment? The art market is an extremely profitable way to bring joy to art lovers of all ages while diversifying your investment portfolio. 

Like investments in property, private equity, or stocks, fine art can increase in value over time. This means many people collect works of art as assets, even if they are quiet about it. 

This pastime can span generations. Decades of trading, searching, purchasing, and more have curated collections of all sizes—and values.

You can choose your art investments strategically, but you should also invest in paintings that you like. If you enjoy art, focus on artists whose work you find enjoyable and place those looks within your home.

An art collection can be anything you want it to be. But before you go out and purchase your first piece, take a look at these surefire steps to keep your collection on the up-and-up and to ensure that you are following best practices going forward. 

Beware of Others’ Opinions

When purchasing your first piece of art—or any piece of art—the last thing you want is buyer’s remorse. Don’t let others influence which pieces you buy. If you like a piece, great. If you don’t, that’s fine too. You’re the one who’s going to end up looking at the piece every day, so it’s you who should like it. 

The same way you don’t want to miss out on a great find and regret not having gotten it, you also don’t want to look at a piece every day and think, “I can’t believe I spent money on that.”

Instead, determine what you like and be confident in your own choices. Art isn’t for everyone, and yet there’s something for everyone. Know what you do and don’t like so you can choose your best pieces that will flatter your confidence and your home for years to come. 

1. Set a Budget

Set a budget for your art purchasing, and mean it. There are many expensive pieces, and the price tags can quickly mount. Just because something is beautiful doesn’t mean you can afford it. 

Decide how much you can spend, and if something catches your eye above that number, determine just how important it is to you as an art collector before you commit to forking over any cash. While you can often sell, you may not be able to do so at full price. So you need to be sure that you are prepared to eat the fees of any art purchase before you buy. 

Setting a price before you go can also help prevent sticker shock. There are expensive pieces out there; don’t be surprised or too overwhelmed to buy by not understanding the pricing structure.

You can spend as much or as little as you want. Do your research first to get your mind in the right space for how much you want to spend in the art world and on your up-and-coming art collection. 

2. Beware of Fakes or Renditions

If you are purchasing something of value, like an original Monet, Banksy, or Matisse, it’s obvious that you want to ensure the authenticity of the painting. Dealers, auction houses, and more will have done their research for you. They can trace the ownership of a piece, so you can have a certificate of authenticity and peace of mind that the painting is real. 

Any painting that was suddenly found or does not seem to have a strict track record is likely something you should avoid. 

When you are purchasing new paintings or those done by new artists, however, this won’t often matter. Because the painting is new, you will be the first owner. These paintings are usually worth far less in value, meaning that you won’t be required to authenticate for a larger sticker price. 

If you’re investing in NFT art, you should receive clear and unique proof of ownership upon purchasing. In general, this will come from the minting artist themselves. Whether you’re using Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, or any other platform, you’ll have to know whether it’s just a minting platform or if it’s also a marketplace. 

3. Beware of Hidden Costs

The next thing to consider is the onset of any hidden costs associated with purchasing artwork. There is often more to art collecting than just purchasing the piece and calling it a day. Know what these costs may be in advance, so you don’t have to come up with any surprise payments in the future. 

Some hidden fees include framing and shipping, which can add up for large or valuable paintings. Insurance on the painting itself will also be something you’ll keep for more expensive items. If you buy at an auction house, there may be fees for the transaction or using their sales space, too. Consider these fees beforehand to avoid a nasty surprise. Before you buy, ask what the fees look like so you can go in knowing what’s ahead and available for your upcoming wall decor. 

If you purchase a statue or another form of art, hidden fees can come in other areas, such as keeping the art clean or other maintenance.

In terms of NFTs, you’ll often have to pay fees, like service fees, transaction fees, and, believe it or not, taxes. 

Be sure to do some Googling beforehand so you know exactly what you’re getting into when you pick up a new piece of art, including what’s expected for a particular medium. 

4. How To Care for Your Art

Another thing to consider before you purchase is how to care for the physical art itself. Sure, it’ll just hang on the wall for the most part. But there is actually a little more to it than that. Paintings should be kept in mild temperatures and low humidity, so avoid storing an original work in the attic or garage while not in use. 

You should avoid bright light, like direct sunlight or high bulb wattages, as exposure could fade or discolor any paint or other components, lessening its value and altering its overall look. 

It’s also best to avoid touching the painting with human hands. If you must touch a painting, for instance, to dust or reframe, wear gloves to keep oils off the canvas. Find out the type of paint that was used so you can further prep for your painting’s storage and keep it in the best shape possible for years to come. 

Keep statues away from human hands, which is easier said than done, and secure heavy or fragile pieces before putting them on a shelf. For instance, make sure the shelf can hold X amount of weight and that it was placed by a professional, lest your beloved piece comes crashing to the ground. 

These same rules do not apply to digital art, so if you’re investing in NFT art, you can rest assured that your pieces are safe from physical harm. 

5. Enjoy It!

The most important aspect of your artwork is that you enjoy it. If you aren’t happy with a piece or it doesn’t bring you joy, consider selling it or trading with other art investors. You can find another home for your piece, someone to love the artwork and create a wonderful space for it in the future while you continue building your investment portfolio with a new asset.

You can move on to a piece you love every time you see it. It’s important to enjoy the art that’s within your home. Spend time and make sure you enjoy what you purchase before bringing it home. Then, rearrange and find the best space possible to call your new artwork your own. 

This is one of the best ways to enjoy your long-term investment for years to come. Whether it’s something priceless or a new artist’s work that you happen to love, as long as it makes you happy and works within your space, it’s found its new home. 

Conclusion

If you are interested in collecting art or viewing new pieces to fill your space, there are many avenues that you can take. Start researching to find what’s available and what you most enjoy in the world of art. From sculptures and paintings to NFTs, you can readily add to your collection to include pieces of art that you enjoy. Your art investment funds are whatever you want them to be, so be wise with your money.

Whether you want to invest in pieces that are valuable, or you simply wish to fill your home with pieces of art that you enjoy, find what you like, shop around, and create a space that makes you happy: art and all. Art fairs, art dealers, estate sales, stores on the internet, and local shops can all offer methods of buying shares of art like limited edition prints or reproductions of one-of-a-kind, timeless classics. Alternatively, you can use an investment platform to buy stocks and bonds or sell shares of art you own.

Remember to avoid fakes, do your research on how pieces should be cared for, and stay ahead of any hidden charges that might come your way. Doing so can help create the best art buying process possible. 

Sources:

How to Start Collecting Art | Business Insider

How to Buy Art: A Beginner’s Cheat Sheet (Published 2015) | NY Times

Art Collecting 101: Buying Art for Beginners | The Art League