BUY ART. I’m an artist, so of course I’m going to tell you to buy art, but honestly, it’s not self-interest that has me writing this post. Investing in art (that you love) is a good idea. First off, I have a LOT of artist friends, so it’s hard NOT to to accumulate work, as time goes by. Besides real estate, it is the only substantial money I’ve ever made. But this story of a $50 million Roy Lichtenstein painting coming up for auction made me think about what we all spend our money on, and what we often hesitate to spend it on. Oh, first – about that Lichtenstein…
Sotheby’s $50 million price tag for Lichtenstein’s red 1962 painting highlights the big market boost that the artist has enjoyed in the past decade, as Andy Warhol‘s early work pushes $100 million. Ten years ago, Lichtenstein’s paintings rarely traded above $20 million. “The Ring” comes from the Chicago collector Stefan Edlis, who bought the painting for $2.2 million 18 years ago from French collector Jean-Marie Rossi who in turn, had bought it right from the artist’s gallery in 1963 – for $1,000.
OK, tell me – what else could you have purchased 50 years ago that would have appreciated 50,000%? Yes, if we had a time machine, we could realize all sorts of profit, right? I recently sold some photographs and prints which cost me nothing 25 years ago but I realized a nice little profit. I’m not bragging here, just trying to make a point. Right now, I’m writing this on my new laptop which I LOVE and use everyday. It cost over $3000 and in the near future will be virtually worthless. Same with cell phones, TVs, cars, etc. There are LOTS of things in life that we need, spend money on but we’ll never see that money again. But not the things of great quality and value.
What is it that people leave behind when they are gone? Cash– (so, save some) real estate– (buy some) jewelry– (not interested, unless watches count) quality furniture– (makes sense, and it IS practical to boot) and Art. As a society, we DO place a high value on art. (The world is FILLED with great museums, right?) Not all of it appreciates 50,000% but some of it, if well-chosen, does. But you know, most people hesitate to spend their money on Art at all. Money spent on luxury goods are no problem. Almost immediately, those Prada and Gucci items are worth much less than what you paid at full retail, but we still love a good handbag, a new suit or some great shoes.
Have I made my point? Take stock of what you own and if you collect art, even a little bit, I’ll bet it’s at the top of the list of what you’d save first in a fire? Beside the fact that if you REALLY like it, you get to look at it all the time and appreciate it, as IT appreciates… and it might even make you a little bit little rich(er).