Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

I enjoy looking at art, visiting museums, thinking about what the artist was pondering about at the time of the painting or sculptures creation. As one who thinks I’m good at choosing art pieces that compliment a room or decor, I wonder if art can not only be viewed aesthetically, but can also be a good financial investment as well.

Obviously, some artist’s paintings are worth thousands to millions of dollars hands down; Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, Pissaro, Van Gogh. But I’m not in the top 1% of the country, or someone who could possibly afford such works of art. I consider myself part of the middle class who might be lucky enough to score a more current work of art from a lesser known artist. One whose pieces sell more in the hundreds to few thousand dollars.

What if I decided I not only wanted to hang a painting on my wall to compliment my sofa, but wanted to use it as an investment. Hoping that years from now it was worth at least more than I paid for it. Where would I begin?

The reason I started thinking about art as an investment is because I know a woman who invested some money many years ago into art pieces. At the time, she was advised to purchase certain pieces from artists she knew with the prediction that these pieces would be worth more in the future. She’s now selling many of her pieces to pay off her credit card debt, yet is finding that most of her pieces are worth less than what she originally paid for them. But the motivation, years ago, behind purchasing the piece was to make money. In her case, this investment strategy didn’t pay off.

So, does this mean it’s a mute point; there’s no way to predict what pieces or artists will be worth money in the future? How can an artist even put a price tag on their work of art if their own future as an artist is uncertain?

A little more digging might reveal that some artists have more stamina than others. Someone who is more in tune with current art, such as a museum curator or art handler might have suggestions for someone thinking about investment opportunities. But even people “in the know” at the moment may not be able to predict what the future value of any particular piece is worth. In the end it might just be better to stick with pieces you truly love, in case they never amount to much more than what you paid.


  1. I’m not sophisticated enough to pick great art, so for me not it’s not a good investment.

    I love that Starry Night by Van Gogh! That use to be my desktop background on my computer at work for years!
    .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..Disney World Seen From The Eyes Of A Child =-.

    • @Money Reasons – I don’t think I’d be able to pick out art pieces for investment purposes either. And the example I’m using shows that it’s a crap shoot anyway!

  2. I don’t spend much money on art. I have a couple of artist friends and we went to a bunch of galleries one day. I don’t get modern art, and they were totally ragging on one artist as a hack and thought the next one they saw was a genius. To me, they both looked about the same. I don’t think I’ll ever be an art collector unless I stumble onto something good and like it out of sheer luck.

    • @Sandy L- I consider myself pretty good at decorating, with the help of my husband. But I don’t know how well I’d be at picking pieces that would appreciate over the years. It’s funny that you mention your friends were picking on one artists but reveling in the other and you couldn’t tell the difference. I think choosing art pieces today would be very difficult!

  3. @eemusings – I really prefer photography on the walls instead of paintings, too. A few years ago I ordered some old digital prints from a local library of the city I live in when it use to be farm land back in the 1930’s. I had them blown up and framed, they are really great and people constantly comment on them. I think I’d choose photography over paintings almost any day. Good point on the house too; purchase something because you like it not because you think you’re going to make money on it!

  4. Practical Parsimony Reply

    Collecting anything for its future value can by daunting. The price of all sterling silver will rise. In the past it has. Our future with sterling items? Who knows? Art? Sculpture? What is wildly popular one decade can slump in the next. Even in the reading of literature or study at universities, sometimes and author will be the latest, greatest discovery, and in a decade or two, no one values his or her work.Put art on your walls that makes you happy. I have artwork and writings of my children framed. It makes me happy! Sometimes artists can know the future of other artists in the market. Just as often they are wrong. Besides, what the woman collected that has depreciated may well be worth a fortune in several hundred years. I can’t wait that long! Your photos on the wall sound interesting and not what a person can see elsewhere. I think you have great taste. Besides having art on the walls, you have history on the walls, and conversation pieces.

    Historical postcards can be blown up and printed on photo paper and framed. Of course, you need to go to a printer to do this properly…I mean to get them large and focused.

    The best investment is in something with a limited supply–land! “They ain’t making any more of that.” Of course, a house on it would be nice.

  5. @Barb – I think that if you purchase art for your own benefit and pleasure, it’s a great hobby (as long as you can afford it!)

  6. For me, the only investment in art is that you can look at it forever and smile every time you do.

    That being said, I’d prefer art made by myself, family or friends (my mom is amazing). That’d have more sentimental value to me than someone I purchase at Ikea (yes, I used to do that).

    Great post!
    .-= FB @´s last blog ..What I’ve Really Liked This Week =-.

    • @FB – I think art for sentimental reasons is the best art of all. My step dad has some amazing paintings that I will always cherish.

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