Art Is On the Up - But Only If It's Priced At €200,000+

Look Deeper by M.A - Maybe it's worth over €200,000? I can only hope!

Art sales are clearly prospering, even in this roller coaster economy. Christies in London, one of the most famous establishments of fine art sales is bustling. Many wear tweed jackets, but the big cash is not in the room. The big cash comes in through bids on the Internet and over the telephone, manned by very professional women wearing bright lipstick and thick rimmed glasses.

A painting once owned by Noel Coward was estimated to be sold at around £20,000 ($30,000) but beats all estimations and eventually gets sold for £250,000. Displays around the room convert the sum to dollars, yen, and a multitude of other currencies. The price of art never ceases to amaze me, even though my art sells for between £10 and £300 depending on the medium, I can only imagine what creating a piece worth this much money feels like.

The Economist estimates that art sales are at an all time high. Last year alone, sales reached an eye watering €51 Billion ($68 Billion) almost doubling the level of spend in 2009, and above the previous peak of €48 Billion in 2007. I can't even begin to think how many zero's are in one billion without my jaw dropping to the floor.

The highest price paid for a piece of art was $300 Million for Paul Gauguin's "When Will You Marry?" And it was purchased by an anonymous buyer who has clearly been saving up for a few days. Just days after this sale, a U.S buyer paid £30 Million for a painting by Gerhard Richter, which set a record for a living artist. One can only imagine the likes of Leonardo DaVinci would be mortified that they hadn't hung around long enough to see the modern worth of their works.

There has been an average increase for contemporary and post-war art by 19% over the past year alone. I on the other hand am ecstatic when I make $5.54 on a canvas sold through a print on demand site.

I guess to an extent that there is a huge difference between my digital works and those of the masters. I'm still unsure what constitutes an original digital piece, maybe it's the very first hard drive or USB stick that it was saved on. If anyone has figured this bit out, please let me know!

The money changing hands would keep a small country afloat for a number of years, but the escalating prices have bred a new industry. The Fine Art Consultant. Now a consultant in my day job generally tells me answers to questions I didn't even ask, and then they take major money and run off into the sunset with a wry grin on their face. So, is the Art Consultant any cheaper? In short the answer is no. If you are buying a Gauguin, or a DaVinci, you can bet your bottom dollar their commission will be around 4% or sometimes even higher of the final selling price of the art.

Does an Art Consultant have a great eye for brilliant paintings? Yes, but they have more of an eye for catching the next painting that isn't based on aesthetics, but on a future resale value for a rich client. Paintings it seems are transient, property is not. This market is shifting away from buying art for pleasure, to a market where the paintings are purchased for investment. According to Deloitte, a [conventional] consultancy, rising art prices in recent years have attracted a whole heap of speculators as opposed to art collectors. Nearly three quarters of purchases have an investment in mind.

In the 1970s, the pension fund of British Rail invested around 3% of its holdings into oil and canvas. The risks in investing in high quality original art is risky at best. The most popular and saleable pieces are decided on by a small group of wealthy collectors to feed their current whims. It seems that buying these pieces at such high prices is also handy to place on tax returns. A discreet investment. Christie's arranged $916 Million of private purchases in 2014. In 2009 it was just $266 Million.

Arts Economics, the research company who deal in all transaction research stated that works which cost more than €200,000 are more saleable than works costing less. Clearly there's a lesson for those who do print on demand, bump your royalties up to around €199,950. It might just sell!

The same research company also indicate that Old Masters are stagnant, and so is Chinese Decorative Art. So, Instagram's grungy, old effect filters are clearly on their way out if your a digital artist, and also you won't need to distress a canvas with coffee as Landis did. (Read about Landis in one of my earlier posts, ).

The risks as I said earlier, still remain high for investment based purchases. Last year, 0.5% of transactions accounted for nearly half of the entire value of fine art sold at auction.

So, if you do invest in art, start slowly and buy some of my reasonably priced pieces. If you purchase anything much more expensive and it all goes horribly wrong, well; at least you will have something pretty to look at remind yourself that you really should have purchased some of my work from

Have a great day. I am off to create a €200,000 piece of art.



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