Tips for Investing in Inexpensive Art

Updated: Jul 19, 2019

It’s possible to begin collecting art with a budget under $1,000. Most galleries will feature younger, emerging artists alongside the more expensive, well-known artists. If you’re new to the scene, your very first commitment to purchasing a work of art will probably be the most daunting, but the best time to start collecting art is always now. As in love – hesitation is loss.

To many, collecting art may be seen as an expensive hobby reserved only for the rich. While this viewpoint is understandable - especially when you hear of works selling in the millions, we would like to explain why collecting art can be enjoyable, inexpensive and a fun way to create wealth from collecting. An added bonus of doing this is you get to support the emerging artistic community.

How to buy emerging, new art

A smart way to start collecting new art is to invest in small works by both established and lesser-known names. This is how the designer and eco-craft guru Liane Rossler started her large collection of contemporary Australian art. Rossler’s house is now reflective of her diverse taste. If you visit younger art galleries and opt for lesser-known artists you can discover some quality work at a more affordable price which may pay off handsomely for you in the future.

Buy paper work

Paper is considered a lesser form of canvas and therefore cheaper. Andrew Shapiro, the owner at Shapiro Auctioneers and Gallery in Woollahra, bought his first paper work for $30 in Philadelphia when he was in his 20s. The work was a print by Henri Matisse from his cut-out collage Jazz series. Shapiro has said, “I don’t care if it’s real or not real. The value of it was that I chose it when no one else spotted it. Starting an art collection is about using your eye and not listening to everyone else.” This sentiment shows that going with what you like can reward you in years to come. Shapiro also feels that works on paper are under-priced in Australia and are usually well represented at every auction.

Buying at an auction

Set a fixed price limit and observe the condition of the work itself. Some things are cheap because they are fragile, unframed, or overlooked and, therefore, undervalued. According to Mark Fraser, the chairman at Bonhams, it’s imperative you do your research. Fraser has said his first stop would be the nearest major state art gallery or their online catalogue to look for works he found appealing. Then, he would research prices by the artists he liked the most and go from there.

Such an approach sounds so practical, akin to buying a second-hand car, however, of course it’s a bit more complex than that. Art is dictated by fashion and the market as well as the momentum of branding and promotions created by galleries, curators and magazines.

Another Article

If you'd like to learn more about this topic please click the link below to see some Berry Art Collectors tips.

Click on Collectors and then item 5 – How do I start collecting art?

Hopefully now you have an idea of how you can contribute to the artistic community as well as generate your own wealth through your collection. If you have any tips you'd like to share with us, please contact us! We'd love to hear from you.


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