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, 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.


  1. Hi Jason,
    Great video! This is exactly what my answer is to my commissioned jewelry collectors. I encourage them to buy if and only they absolutely love the piece, because it’s so personal.
    I am a fashion accessories and jewelry designer for 30 years and I am working towards branching out and selling my art. I never sold my art through a gallery, so you can say I am a beginner in that sense. I would like to learn what the procedure is? Let’s assume that I send you my portfolio and that you obsoletely liked it and are interested to represent my work in your gallery…what’s next? Do you buy and sell or it’s just consignment? Level of commission involved? What other expenses are involved? Shipping expenses? Unsold work? How long you keep the art? What if I found a customer for the pieces that you are representing? Any other things to learn that I did not think of?
    Thank you in advance!

  2. Thank you for this terrific session. I’ll share it with others I know who may be interested. I’m a recently retired, “revived” painter who stopped for many years to manage a career and family. I decided, as I restarted that I didn’t care how much people paid for my works as long as they received joy from owning them. I’m struck by your visit today because you’re essentially recommending joy of ownership as the best, most realistic way to consider one’s investment in art unless they’re a “blue chip collector.”

    Recently a young lady purchased 3 pieces of my work. 2 of them were current, less than one year old, that she fell in love with. Of course, I was thrilled! The third piece, I did not have for sale. It is an older piece I painted over 40 years ago, a bit more “amateurish” than the other two she liked, and it was stacked behind a few others in a corner. To my great surprise, it was the first one she spotted, and she loved it! Then, later she chose the other two. Now all three hang in her home and she’s thrilled to have them…and that’s what I want for all my sold pieces. Thrilled owners.

    Your ZOOM today was more than fitting. It is informative and offers an intelligent, practical approach to how and why folks should buy art. It’s not only good for us artists, as sellers, but also should serve the needs of potential buyers.

    Well done-Thank you.

  3. My first thought is that art is more of a passion than an investment. And my second thought is I would assume it is only a good investment if you have a possible connection of any sort of buyer for it if and when.

  4. A few years ago I had a buyer/friend return a painting as she said she “is now only buying art as an investment.” (Her husband actually gave me a “rental fee” as they had displayed the piece for several months and he felt bad about his wife’s actions).

    A few years later, she came to one of my Open Studios exhibit, and purchased a new piece, maybe because one of her colleagues, a prominent citizen of our town, had bought another piece, telling my friend how much she liked my work! The piece my friend bought now cost more than she had paid for the piece she bought originally.

    So now I guess I’m a “good investment.” (And I never tell anyone to buy my work for investment–only that I”m happy that it goes to a good home!”

  5. Great discussion, Jason! Interesting – my first boss (an architect for whom I worked) was also a blue chip art buyer; the wealthiest bachelor in New England at the time. He had to invest his money in something. He an employee who went to NY once a month to scout the galleries for blue chip art, purchase, bring them back, and put them into a fire-resistant vault. Good night to them! But he did keep a series of Josef Albers Homage to the Square paintings evenly spaced around the upper wall of the studio. It made my head SPIN every time I walked into the place.
    I paint because I love to paint and have done so for years. I have the very same attitude as yours and I will sway anyone else to adapt that.
    Excellent talk, thank you as always!

  6. As the owners of an art gallery, Larson Arts, in the 80s and 90s in Twin Falls, Idaho, my husband and I fielded the question of “art-as-investment” more times than I can count. Our answer was basically the same each time. If you purchase a piece because you love it, you’ve already won, because you get to enjoy it every day. If that piece appreciates in value, then you’ve won twice. The only problem is, in order to realize that appreciation in value, you have to sell something you love. Our other admonition to customers was this: “If you find an original piece that speaks to you, that piece you can’t get out of your head, you better buy it because if you don’t someone else will, and it will haunt you forever.”

    1. I totally agree with your post, and couldn’t have said it better, as this is exactly what I told my clients when I owned an art gallery in Ottawa, ON in the 2000’s.
      I know several clients that lost out on pieces they loved to someone else and they couldn’t get it out of their head. It’s happened to me as well so when I find a piece I totally love, I buy it on the spot.

  7. When I arrived in NYC 1n the 60s, I purchased a small piece by Roberto Matta at
    a gallery in fifth avenue, I knew who he was, but at the time I paid $220. It was my first piece in my collection in the USA I had not a lot of money at those years. 50 years later I sold that work at extremely handsome profit in LA. I only purchased what I liked all my life, but so far so good when selling. When I lived in AZ, I used to visit your gallery in Scotsdale. It’s a nice space, I enjoy your articles. Good luck.

  8. I recently sold a piece of art to a new buyer. since iI painted it 15 years ago, I charged her what I was selling my artwork then. Should I raise the prices of my older works to reflect what I and charging now or do as I did with this buyer and keep my prices on older pieces that I charged when I originally painted them?

  9. In my 40+ years as an art dealer (and artist), I have – of course – been asked this question more times than I can count. I think that Jason’s point of moving the conversation in another direction is terrific. However, I also think it’s important in most instances to actually answer the question asked and not to avoid it. And the answer is, that, by the standards of most “investments”, art does not meet the requirements, except maybe some art of the multi-million dollar kind, our of the reach of most. It’s simply not that kind of asset, for many reasons – subjective values, no fixed judgment criteria, non-transparent transactions, and more. On the other hand, gold, diamonds, stocks, etc. cannot touch your heart, or elevate your soul.
    I was recently interviewed on the topic of art as investment and if anyone wishes to listen to a lengthy conversation, here it is: httpsletstalkartwithbrooke.com20240505listen-to-my-chat-with-michelle-gaugy-on-art-for-investment

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