10 Nov 2009

Allocate appropriate budget when investing in art

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

There are many people who would like to buy art but are unclear as to how to go about it. Lacking exposure to the world of art, they are unsure about artists, prices, which galleries to go to and the value of artworks. On the other hand, there are numerous collectors who keep succumbing to practically every new work of art. The excitement of collecting new and different works of art can even become addictive unconsciously.

There are some collectors who keep buying works from every new series of a particular artist for a variety of reasons. They either like that artist’s creations a lot, or because they know the artist personally they find it difficult to decline his latest works.
Then there are those who begin collecting in a small way, but in a few years time they get so involved and passionate about it that they find themselves unable to stop. This may happen even at the cost of their budgets going awry. With every new purchase they tend to stretch themselves, and slowly over a period of time this grows beyond control. Collecting art by well known names is a reflection of one’s status and there are many buyers who invest in them just for this purpose. Peer pressure can also be the driving factor in many cases. Then there are those collectors who are forever on the look out for newer artists and cutting edge works. They look for artists from a purely financial investment angle.

Therefore, while some may consider art as a frivolous expenditure, there are a large number of people who invest in art for various reasons. However, it is important to apportion a budget to art investment and remain within its limits. Just as you would invest a percentage of your disposable income on various conventional assets, follow the same rules when buying art, at least wherever applicable.

(Published in Financial Times)

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