Art - The furnishing you can appreciate, whilst it appreciates
Art can be a visual joy around the home, but it is also well documented that art can help to create joy. It is a common belief that looking at art can break the cycle of more harmful emotions.
Choosing a piece that has personal meaning to you can be uplifting. You get to enjoy it every day during your normal routine.
Painting, drawing, sculpture and more...
More women are considering ‘alternative investments’ from a broader range of assets. Art is an area of growing interest amongst women. Art covers a wide range of pieces that include painting, drawing and sculpture to name just a few. Like all other investment areas, the prices are subject to rise and fall. The major additional benefit with art is the benefit of enjoying your chosen pieces, whilst they grow in value.
Due to its limited supply, investment in art works has started to really bloom. Many women have realised that unlike expensive curtains, blinds and carpets, a work of art has the potential to substantially increase in value as you enjoy it!
The number of newer artists creating investment level work has grown steadily over the last fifty years or so, providing potential investors with a huge range of styles to choose from.
Many women today inherit paintings, but have no idea of the value they can command. Recently a 75-year-old Surrey woman cleared out her attic and found two paintings that could fetch up to £30,000 at auction. The woman was about to consign the paintings to the bin but thought she would show her neighbour first. Good job she did because it turns out they were by the Australian artist William Blamire Young. Blamire Young is known for his watercolours, but these were oil paintings and are considered to be rare.They had been bought by the woman's father 60 years ago, but were kept in the attic because her mother did not like them. Both works were painted in 1904 to celebrate the founding of the Australian army . The woman told the valuer at Christie's that all she wanted was a new TV, and his response was that shewould be able to buy a few of them! Obviously this doesn't happen every day but its certainly worth checking out the true value of paintings, drawings or old map you may have inherited.
A longer term investment
Art should be seen as a longer term investment. If you are less adventurous, then you might wish to look for work by recognised artists that have established prices and major gallery exposure. On the other hand, many women will buy art because of a personal connection with a piece or artist.
All artists at some point in their career are relative unknowns. Whilst some remain unknown, others become ‘famous’ and their work then commands a great price. In between these two extremes there are many thousands of living artists whose works can currently be purchased at a modest price. It is this accessible entry level that most women choose.
The art market
The contemporary art market is alive and well. Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art sale in 2008, raised over $350 million. It was the second-highest total in the auction house’s history. In May 2007, Andy Warhol’s Green Car Crash sold for $71 million! Yves Saint Laurent’s art collection, which was auctioned recently raised $330 million.
David Hockney's painting called Beverly Hills Housewife sold for a record $7.9 million in May 2009, showing that investors are still willing to buy high quality art, despite the recession. The previous record for a Hockney painting The Splash was $5.4 miilion, in 2006. You could have bought this painting in 1966 for a few hundred dollars! Obviously, this artist's work just continues to appreciate regardless of economic conditions.
There has been huge growth in new art collectors, because the internet has made art collecting easier than before. Now a buyer can find detailed artist information, auction reports and make a purchase without leaving the comfort of home. This is evidenced by the increase in international popularity of Australian Aboriginal art. Before the advent of the internet, it was very difficult to get any information on the genre.
The entry of the Chinese into the Art market has had a big impact recently. A boom is taking place in the market for Chinese contemporary art. Many of the Chinese art buyers are young, successful entrepreneurs. Popular artists include: Shao Yachuan, Kang Hyung Koo, Do Ho Suh, Zhou Xianglin and Hou Jumming. There is huge demand for works reflecting China before the Cultural Revolution.
How do you choose a piece?
Select known up and coming artists then follow your heart and only buy it if you like it. Remember, you are investing in your lifestyle as well. The work is going to enhance your home or office and give you and your family pleasure for many years. Many of the up and coming contemporary artists's work is still affordable and there is the potential for a small investment to turn into a great speculative success. The latest darling of the London auction scene is Banksy. This graffiti artist is now collected by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Christina Aguilera. His painting Keep it real sold for just £800 in 2003. Today his works sell for hundreds of thousands. His stencil on canvas called Keep it spotless, a reference to Damien Hirst's spot paintings, sold for $1.7 million.
The five most expensive paintings to date
Portrait of Dr. Gachet
Artist: Vincent Van Gogh
Price tag: $82,500,000
Purchased: Christie's, New York, May 15th, 1990.
Japanese businessman Ryoei Saito bought the painting. After purchasing this painting, he threatened to have it burned when he died in order to prevent his heirs from having to pay huge inheritance taxes. He died six years later and no one has seen the Portrait of Dr. Gachet since!
Au Moulin de la Galette
Artist: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Price tag: $78,100,000
Purchased: Sotheby's, New York, May 17th, 1990.
Ryoei Saito also bought this painting. It is painted in a style typical of Renoir's early period of impressionism. Most of the people in the painting are Renoir's friends. Renoir did not consider Au Moulin de la Galette amongst his best work. Art collectors today, obviously feel differently!
Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe
Artist: Vincent Van Gogh
Price tag: $71,500,000
Purchased: Christie's, New York, November 19th, 1998.
This is literally a painting of the artist without a beard. Van Gogh painted it for his mother the year before he died. It is one of his last paintings. His paintings of this time are considered to be his best.
Still Life with Curtain, Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit
Artist: Paul Cezanne
Price tag: $60,500,000
Purchased: Sotheby's, New York, May 10th, 1999.
Cezanne, often called the father of modern painting, was a French artist working in the impressionist period, but he is known as a "post-impressionist" for his unconventional and influential style.
It was purchased anonymously.
Les Noces de Pierrette
Price tag: $51,671,920
Purchased: Binoche et Godeau, Paris, November 30th, 1989. This painting was also bought by a Japanese businessman back when the Japanese economy was thriving.
Unfortunately, for most of us, we do not have the means to purchase such works of Art. But just consider that 50 years ago, impressionist paintings that sell for $10 million today were 'only' a few hundred thousand dollars each. Obviously, art can be a source of great profits if it is bought at the right time.
Famous women artists
Perhaps the most famous woman artist of the twentieth century. She was born in Wisconsin and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the New York Art Student's League.
The turning point came for Georgia O'Keeffe in 1915 when she destroyed her extant paintings of derivative art and embarked on a trajectory of abstractionism. She was discovered and promoted by the distinguished photographer Alfred Stieglitz, whom she eventually married. Her enormous sensuous close ups of flowers and stark renditions of skulls are now universally famous.
Her paintings are generally characterized by asymmetrical compositions, flat colours and spare forms. She lived to be almost a hundred and worked in clay, in her later life when her eyesight failed.
Born in Cayoacan, Mexico. She was always proud to identify the year of her birth with the year of the Mexican Revolution. This identification with her motherland was to permeate all her artistic sensibilities and to manifest itself in the colours, forms and icons that she integrated into her art.
Kahlo's stormy relationship and marriage with the much older and celebrated painter Diego Rivera is already the stuff of popular legend. Frida Kahlo's work now commands huge prices. Madonna owns two!
Dame Laura Knight
Studied at the Nottingham College of Arts and taught for several years while pursuing her own career as an artist. She became famous for her paintings of circus life, ballet dancers and gypsies. Her exhibit at the Royal Academy received official commissions during the Second World War. She was also the official artist for the Nuremberg Trials after the war.
Tamara de Lempicka
Born in Warsaw, Poland. Her family later moved to Russia. She fled the Russian Revolution in 1917 and went to live in Paris where she received her training at Academie de la Grand Chaumiere.
Lempicka's paintings are rendered in the hard-edged, flattened surface style which has come to be synonymous with Art Deco. She moved to the U.S.A prior to the Second World War, where her works were exhibited in numerous galleries. Lempicka died in Mexico in 1980.
Came to the attention of the art world when Degas bought three of her works in 1893. Valadon specialised in nudes, portraits and thematic pieces. Her use of colour and her bold representations of female sexuality challenged the traditional male constructions of femininity.
The daughter of Sir Leslie Bell and the sister of Virginia Woolf. She was part of the Bloomsbury group of writers, artists and intellectuals. Bell studied art at the Royal Academy and her work reflects the influence of the French artistic traditions of the late nineteenth century. Bell was also an illustrator and designer whose innovative work helped change the style of modern textiles and ceramics.
Also one of the Bloomsbury set. Carrington's relationship with Lytton Strachey was the subject of the 1995 movie with Emma Thompson playing the role of Carrington. A highly gifted artist, Carrington nevertheless remained an obscure figure until recently. She was a prize-winning student of the Slade School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture.
These are just a handful of the fabulous women artists whose works now command big price tags. But in the early days, their paintings and illustrations could be bought quite cheaply. There are many lesser known artists whose work has yet to be discovered.
Buy what appeals to you and gives you pleasure to look at every day. You never know - one day it may be worth a fortune!
We usually think of art as paintings, but there are plenty of affordable types of art that can be collected. Amongst them are: original prints, woodcuts and wood engravings, lithographs, antique maps and charts and Australian & international Aboriginal art. To learn more about these art forms visit our learning centre and take our free online course.
Several 'art funds' have been developed by European financial institutions. Societe Generale were one of the first into this market niche. These funds are structured like a managed fund. The investment of many small investors is "pooled" to purchase paintings and sculptures, meaning an investor owns a fractional interest in the art.
The funds will use private equity techniques and rely on partnerships with an international and exclusive network of art consultants, dealers and auction houses to guarantee the convergence of financial interests. The fund will aim for a rate of return of between 15 and 20% net per year over a period of eight years.
Societe Generale says the fund will have access to 20th and 21st century works of art. They will select pieces of great aesthetic and historical value. The selection criteria will be approved by an art committee composed of international curators, historians and private collectors, internationally recognised for their expertise and integrity.
Members of the committee include Jean Manuel Bonet, former director of the Valencia Institute of Modern Art and Hélène Kelmachter, curator of the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art.
With the art market becoming more and more professional, direct investment in the sector is becoming increasingly difficult for individual investors of modest means. An art fund could be a good way to gain a diversified exposure to art.
Factors affecting current and future values
View as much work by the artist as possible to determine whether the work under consideration is from a well regarded period or series. Works painted during particular periods can be significantly more valuable than those from other periods.
Prior to purchasing a painting, it is a good idea to search the artist in as much depth as possible. Determine whether the artist is represented in significant collections or galleries. Also determine how prolific the artist is, and whether there is strong demand for the artist in the secondary market - in other words, at auction.
Once you are the proud owner of a piece of art, hang it on your wall and enjoy it every day. Another opportunity to 'live like a millionaire'. If it significantly increases in value then this is an added bonus.