Worth a look? Investing in art, an exciting and enjoyable journey



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Worth a look? Investing in art, an exciting and enjoyable journey


© Kshitij Anand
Worth a look? Investing in art, an exciting and enjoyable journey

A good piece of art always gives that extra edge to the aesthetics of the room. While there are many forms of art like sculptors, installations, etc, in India the art market is dominated largely by paintings.

While earlier art was collected more like a passion, without a doubt, art as an investment has gained popularity over time. Art as an investment has been gaining gradual acceptance in India.

Many long-term investors have diversified portfolios which include artworks from both Indian and international artists. Business families too often approach investment in art, either as a valuable collection and/or as an instrument of wealth creation.

In fact, many family offices have even included art as part of their investment portfolio. Art collections have also found themselves as an essential part of estate planning, as valuables to be passed on to the next generation.

While an art collection, either for passion or as a planned investment is a great asset to own, it is important to understand what the game is all about and a few basics of the asset class.

Frequent art galleries and art fairs analyse different forms of art, their significance, and artists. For a first-time buyer/investor in art, it may be beneficial to buy through an art consultant or an advisor who has an in-depth knowledge of the market.

Start with buying works of renowned artists only as these artworks usually have a superbly detailed and established history readily available. If your budget is not too high or limited, you can opt for less expensive art offered by veteran artists.

For example, watercolor on paper paintings of masters like Raza and Ara will cost you much lesser than oil on canvas, acrylic on canvas, or acrylic on paper by the same artists.

Ideally, purchase from an established art gallery or an auction house as they provide an indication of which artists are up for sale, along with prices and a history of their work.

Paper works by renowned artists, such as prints, sketches, pen on paper, or charcoal on paper are ideal for lower investments. A Print is a replica of an original painting, created through techniques such as etching.

The artists’ signature is signed in pencil on the original prints and they are numbered to identify and indicate how many prints are there of the edition. More the prints, lower the value.

Although the art market is dominated by renowned veterans, off late there has been a boom of emerging artists. Before investing in a budding artist, it is best to take expert opinion as it is difficult to speculate on who would make it big in the future.

Points to remember before investing in art:

– Art is a long-term investment and patience is the key here.

– Always invest in art that you like. It is most probably going to be with you for your lifetime.

– Not all artworks are masterpieces. It is best to take expert opinion to help you recognise one.

– Research the artist and his artwork you plan to invest in, beforehand.

– Art is a one-time investment and does not provide you with alternate income.

– The art market is quite fickle. The art styles and trends are difficult to predict and hence the risks also are accordingly unpredictable.

– Investment in art does not end with the purchase. It requires a lot of taking care to make sure it remains intact. Humidity, sunlight, dust, heat, cold are few of the environmental factors that can damage the artwork and reduce its value.

Investing in art is a great idea though, like any other form of investment, this too has its advantages and risks.

Summing up, love the art, and then start investing in the same. Accept it as a long-term investment avenue first and financial benefit will follow later.

(Amit Patni, Director of Campden Family Connect)

Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by experts on Moneycontrol.com are their own and not those of the website or its management. Moneycontrol.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.