Investing in art

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What to look for if you're buying art as an investment

There’s no doubt that there can be big money in art. Last year Pablo Picasso’s Women of Algiers (Version 0) sold for a $179.4m at an auction in New York, earning it the record for the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction and the seller a whopping profit of $147.5m in just 18 years.

Of course, cases like this are rare, and most collectors are looking to spend in the hundreds rather than the thousands but it’s not surprising that the question of investment frequently comes up.

This weekend, The Affordable Art Fair is coming to Bristol with an exciting line-up of artists showcasing contemporary paintings, editionned prints, sculptures and photography from around 50 galleries.

Prices at the fair range from £100 – £5,000 and the three-day event will bring together emerging and established artists, providing the perfect setting to discover and purchase art from Bristol-based artists and beyond. If you are thinking of buying art as an investment it could be the ideal opportunity to discover a possible masterpiece of the future.

Sam Gare, Affordable Art Fair Director Bristol has some advice for anyone thinking of investing.

“The key is to buy a piece you love for the sheer pleasure of treating yourself to something beautiful, original or thought provoking, and any potential rise in value is secondary to the years of enjoyment you will gain from living with art,” she said.

“There are a few questions you could ask the gallerist which may help to guide your choice. All of the gallerists at the Affordable Art Fair are more than happy to guide you through your purchase, so do take this opportunity to find out more about the piece and the artist. You might like to ask:

·        Where the artist studied and how widely they have exhibited since graduating - if they’ve trained at a well-known art school, shown commitment to exhibiting their art, and been picked up by a number of galleries, institutions, or collectors, these are all the ingredients to begin a successful career.

·        How well their work has sold or if they have won any prizes - a piece by an artist whose work is already in demand may make you feel more confident in your choice.

If the artist has been self-taught, don’t let this put you off. Speak to the gallerist about how the work has been made and what the artist’s inspiration was. An artist will most often make a name for his/herself by developing a consistent body of work, and the gallerists representing them at the fair will be able to talk you through the intricacies of their practice.”

The Affordable Art Fair takes place from 9–11 September at Brunel’s Old Station. Find out more here.

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