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  • liquidwindows liquidwindows Mar 26, 2008 3:38 PM Flag

    OT: Art investing

    I am curious about how many of you invest in art as well as stocks. I have been collecting for many years and have done well. Economic downturns often bring the art market to its knees and I am seeing signs that this is really beginning to take hold. I was recently offered a very valuable painting for about 1/3 of its value and I am hearing that this is not uncommon. Art collectors run out of money like anyone else and need fast cash - selling off a painting or two would normally be done through a gallery or auction house but it tends to take a long time unless the particular painting or sculpture has a ready buyer - often not the case. New paintings by established artists also are slow to move in this environment and can often be had for a song.
    Have any of you who invest in art seen similar situations recently?

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    • Pompous!

    • Dogs playing cards - now THAT'S art! You can buy a poster print of that at any Walmart for $4.99. What more do you really need?

    • Perhaps there is an ETF where you can short art. Or maybe hedge art ... short in the US, long in countries with repressive governments?

      Now wouldn't that be just the thing for a cynic ;-}

    • I have been investing in some art. I look at it as an 'enjoyable' investment, pretty much the same way as I look at my beach property (up about 150% even after the price drop; can enjoy weekend after weekend). My wife is an artist and I rely on her expertise to identify artists on the 'rising tide', which I believe is needed. I would not rely on so-called experts recommending such or such an artist / art collection unless I have a good, trustworthy relationship.

      Haven't thought much about falling art prices during 'stress times', but you could be on to some. I haven't sold one piece, enjoy looking at them very much, and know that so far they appreciated quite a lot. Hope this helps.

      • 1 Reply to lookoutgrady
      • It is lucky you have an artist in the family - that certainly simplifies figuring out who is worth investing in and who isn't. I stick with a few styles that I both like I and have come to know very well. I don't invest in much abstract expressionism because I have never cared for it - although I can tell a good one from a bad one, I can't tell a good one from a great one. Impressionism, realism, expressionism etc. are more to my taste. I like things like Bierstadt and Turner so I tend to shoot for artists that fit in there somewhere - my wife likes the impressionists but we can only afford minor works of the masters. I tend to look for masterpieces by little knowns.

    • serious comment: Many hedge funds were buying art - i.e. the idea is to hold non correlated assets

      As hedge funds are forced to deleverage by banks that need their capital back you might see a lot of art on the market

      With that said, a whole new class of ultra rich Middle Eastern and Russian will probably buy much of it. We dont see it here in the US but London is where most of them move to... small example many of the best soccer clubs in the world are now owned by Russian or Middle Eastern ... means nothing to an American but the most loved sport in rest of the world. The treasure we send everyday to pay for our addiction is truly redrawing the economic map worldwide.

      So you better scoop up that art or one of Putin's cronies err... capitalist businessman might. ;)

      • 1 Reply to markox5
      • here is a lot of it on the market - did some checking with gallery owners and they say business is dismal. The nearby town (Denison) has been known for being an up and coming art town for the last few years - at one point just two years ago Main Street had 24 galleries on a single three or four block stretch - it seems to be down to four galleries now and two of them haven't sold enough to pay the light bill in six months.
        They tell me people are constantly in trying to SELL paintings, not buy them. I bet there would be a good business in an art pawn shop right now. Someone who knew how to authenticate and value paintings (and had the money to loan) could really clean up. There are also a couple of very fine artists in the area who are dead broke and selling work for whatever they can get (as well as a slew of crappy artists who I'm sure are always dead broke.) The very best around usually has a two year waiting list, he said he could start a commisioned project almost immediately now although he hasn't dropped his prices yet and he isn't broke - very smart with his money. If the recession lasts a while even he might change his tune.

    • I have a Picasso (Blue Period) fake that's worthless, but looks good my my guest bath, and I might get another one? Does that count? :))

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