3 Aug 2007

Invest in art for the right reasons

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

One of the main reasons why one should invest in art is for its visual benefit. To be able to truly enjoy its aesthetic content it helps to gain knowledge on the subject. The more knowledgeable a person is the more it helps when making a sound investment. Reading on art history, trends, artist profiles and auction reports provide a good background to the uninitiated. But then, mere reading about art is not sufficient. Like in any other subject, practical knowledge is a must. It is important to visit art galleries, art shows and take the time to look at as many paintings as one can. This will give a good feel for art, as well as hone your ability to distinguish good art from bad art. For instance, a mediocre painter may try to sell an average piece of work for exorbitant rates. But, if you have the knowledge and the ability to judge carefully, you will be in a better position to evaluate its salability factor and value. In fact, this is also indicated by the recent price correction, where one of the factors that impacted the fall in prices is a growing maturity in buyers which translates into a more discerning, more knowledgeable buyer with a sharp business acumen. It is true that no one can produce outstanding works all the time, but then prices should be consistent with quality apart from considering features such as size, medium etc.

In any case, it is important to buy art for the right reasons – its aesthetic value and sense of joy it brings to the viewer. One should not compare it with stocks and mutual funds. Or, invest in art funds, where you leave the decision making to an expert and don’t have to worry about what to buy and when to sell.

(Published in Financial Times)
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