While it’s a luxury to be able to afford original art for the home, it’s even better if it increases in value. Most home items depreciate, but original art is one area in which you can see a return on investment, provided you carry out the appropriate research.
With a Bachelor of Visual Arts and two Masters degrees (Hons) from the University of Sydney and an extensive career in art education and the management of Australia’s leading investment art galleries and art and antique auction houses, Kerry-Anne Blanket of KAB Gallery is one of the country’s premium art consultants. We looked her up recently to get the inside skinny on how to buy original art that not only brings joy, but appreciates in value too.
“Investing in art can be daunting, and like all investments, there is risk. If only I had a crystal ball! Most investment markets experience rises and falls, and art is no different. However, I love investing in art because it is a beautiful and tangible investment. Like real estate, it will remain even when markets are low. It is an artefact that can be enjoyed until markets rise again, and for many generations,” says Kerry-Anne.
She also believes it’s vital to love the art you are buying. “That’s the best part about investing in a good art collection – you can enjoy the beauty of your investment every day. While you must of course approach the purchase of an investment dispassionately to enable you to properly weight up the pros and cons, at the end of the day, art is a creative medium designed to provoke emotion. When the time comes to sell, you will be hoping to tap into that same emotion in potential buyers to realise a return,” says Kerry-Anne.
“When buying an artwork in the hope that you will receive an investment return it’s really important to consider a few simple points. You are looking for quality, versatility, broad appeal and a good sales history,” says Kerry-Anne, who explains that you should also get to know the local market before investing.
Proven sales history
“The most important golden rule is to always invest in a professional artist with a proven sales history. As part of your due diligence investigations, my advice is to consider how the artist’s popularity has grown over time, and whether this is reflected in their prices and demand. While many art investors have struck it lucky by investing in an emerging artist who goes on to become famous, the majority have not been so lucky.”
Broad appeal & versatility
“You should also consider who you would expect to invest in the artwork when you decide to realise your return by selling in the future. For example, if you are investing in a quirky, on-trend piece, you need to ask yourself how this will be received in another one, five or even 50 years’ time? Who would be interested in buying it then? If sold it at auction, would there be lots of bidders fighting it out? Is the style of work still going to be fashionable when you go to sell? Is the work an awkward size for transport or finding a space to hang, potentially reducing your resale market substantially?” says Kerry-Anne.
Get to know the local market
“There are so many facets of the Australian art market which means it’s a full time job keeping up-to-date. I believe it’s important to follow what you love and look for positive market patterns. Look at important art prizes and consider both the judged winner and the people’s choice. This will give you clues to popular trends as well as technical proficiency. Also, when looking for investment purposes, try to concentrate on a handful of artists so you can become as familiar as possible with the market for their work,” says Kerry-Anne.
“Above all else, it’s vital to ensure that your investment artwork is an original piece of art – leave the digital prints for sale in the two dollar shop! Even if the gallery is presenting you with a high quality giclée print that is identical to the original image, it’s important to remember that it is only a copy. At the end of the day it is the rarity and originality of an artwork which contributes substantially to its resale value,” says Kerry-Anne.