The Art of Investing

POSTED: Saturday, June 27, 2015

At Christie’s New York auction house in May earlier this year, the hammer went down on the final bid for Picasso’s Women of Algiers (Version O). The price set a staggering new record for an art sale at auction, selling for a final price of $179,365,000.

 

Women Of Algiers Picasso



It was only in November the year before, that Francis Bacon’s triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud set the previous record, at an equally astounding $142.4 million.

 

These are the works that are pushing art collecting beyond the threshold, exciting and reinvigorating the market to new heights. We obviously can’t all be investing our multi-millions into these masterpieces (not yet anyway…), but the effect does trickle down and people do take heed of art being one of the safer ways to invest your money.

 

Last year, we released just a few editions of Damien Hirst’s cheeky and fun Mickey edition (featured below at our Art Takeover), which was produced to raise funds for the charity Kids Company. Back over summer last year, the piece was valued between £7,000 and £8,000. Now? You can find prints from the exact same edition run selling for over $55,000 at auction, that’s £35,000.

 

Damien Hirst Mickey

 

There are a number of other great pieces that are worth keeping an eye on: Chris Levine’s Lightness of Being is increasing in value as the edition sells out, Douglas Kirkland’s photographic portraits too increase in value as their runs sell out, and we’ve also seen value increase in original works from Dave White and Jessica Zoob to reflect their popularity and critical acclaim.

 

Now, hindsight is a beautiful thing when it comes to the right buy, but what should we look for when choosing a piece to invest in? One thing of course is the subject matter. Recognisable and widely-admired figures such as the Queen (Lightness of Being), and cultural icons such as Monroe (Kirkland) and Sinatra (O’Neill) will always be a popular choice. Recognition of works is also a big tip, which is why works by Hirst, Levine and Harland Miller always do so well. Provenance and history can be a factor too, as works by relatively new artists such Darwin, Sinke & van Tongeren now feature in respected collections, namely Damien Hirst’s ‘Murderme’, and have since rocketed in profile.

 

Chris Levine Lightness of Being

 

Chris Levine Lightness of Being Motcomb Steet Party

 

But really, at the end of the day, it’s your own gut instinct and what you like. Dave White is a particularly acute example of this, with particular subjects striking a chord with audiences or even particular features. Some say it’s ‘all in the eye’ (such as the Scottish Wildcat or Rabbit I), some love the movement pieces (like Running Elephant or Flying Sparrow), or some choose a subject for a spiritual connection (Elephants and Hummingbirds a particular case in point).

 

Dave White Ellies And Cheetah

 

Chances are, if you like something, others will like it too and thus a market is born. So go with what you love and you’ll make the best investment of all which is a piece which reaps you enjoyment and enhances your environment day after day.