Ask a Gallery Owner | How Should I Respond When a Potential Buyer Asks “Is Art A Good Investment?”

In this week’s session I discuss how to respond when an art buyer asks “Is art a good investment?” It’s important to be careful when answering a question like this. We don’t want to set false expectations for our buyers; instead we should strive to encourage them to buy art for the personal enjoyment it will bring them for years to come.

How Would You Respond?

Have you had buyers ask you about the investment value of your art? How have you responded? What are your thoughts about art as an investment? Leave a comment below!

Image: “Interchange” by Willem de Kooning

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

8 Comments

  1. I have to ask them if an iPhone is a good investment or a car. We think nothing of dropping thousands on gadgets and vehicles that only end up in a scrapyard a few years later. Art appreciates although it is chancy sometimes. It is important to educate buyers so that they have confidence in their judgement.

  2. I have successfully increased the price of my artwork steadily over many years. I don’t, however, have a secondary market for my work…. >>YET<<<. I do consider that as part of my overall business/creative strategy, but I mainly focus on making sure that the collectors get a great value in my work that they will enjoy for years. My aim is that they will love the work and do one of the following: Buy another piece, talk about the piece and/or me to friends/other collectors, show up at future exhibitions. Over time as I the works sell, I inch the prices up at a reasonable pace. I use several metrics for pricing my work: Comparative value, history, public feedback and gallerists input. I often get immediate public feedback that helps me gauge my range. e.g.: "I would have paid double, that." or "You should charge more", or even, "That's a little out of my price range" and "My kid could do this!". I take all of that into consideration as well as supply/demand basics. One note regarding pricing. I try to be as consistent as possible. I use a psi (price per square inch) calculation that ensures that similar pieces are priced appropriately. It makes it easier to price new works and to assign increases to unsold pieces. That's my 2cents.

  3. My response has always been that art is a good investment in yourself, in your happiness, in your surroundings, in your lifestyle. I don’t go into financial return on investment. I leave that to financial advisors.

  4. A somewhat related story.
    A painter friend has a little sign that he displays prominently
    in his booth at art fairs. The sign reads:
    People often ask me if artwork increases in value after the artist is dead.
    My response is “Yes that’s usually the case, and by the way,
    I haven’t been feeling well lately”.

  5. Even an investment isn’t an investment unless you sell it. Many collectors don’t part with their art even if they bought it as an investment. Art is personal and one usually becomes more attached to it over time.
    It is an investment in yourself. It indicates your status, your being “cultured,” your interests/depth/taste.

  6. Made me think of Antiques Road Show – how people learn that their piece(s) are worth a lot more than they thought but they act as though they will take it home and really enjoy it rather than trying to sell it for the newly found price.

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