According to the WSJ, The Best Investments of 2018? Art, Wine and Cars.
The author notes that for the calendar year of 2018, while traditional investments like stocks and bonds lost relative value, luxury items such as fine wines, fancy colored jewelry, and art actually gained value on the market. So, while perhaps not addressing such deeper questions as what gives value to art, it is at least an indicator that taking the step towards that painting or sculpture you had your eye on already could have some short-term financial gains. The increase in value of artwork can be especially true in the case of emerging artists (I hope I'm not being too subtle here).
On average, according to the WSJ article, the market value of art investments have increased about 12% in 2018. The author compares this to the value of the S&P 500 Total Return which has lost ~5% and the Stoxx Europe 600 Total Return which has lost ~12% in value. You may end up looking like quite the sharp investor by purchasing a beautiful painting at these rates!
However, even greater returns are possible by investing in art, in the non-monetary gains that they will bring to your home and family - as well as our culture as a whole. The first and strongest argument for investing in beautiful art is that having beautiful forms around you will actually change you and those around you leaving their positive mark on your mind and soul. (More of my thoughts about that here.)
The reverse effect is also unavoidable when we surround ourselves with ugly forms or are taken by the tide of least resistance into emptiness or utilitarian forms.
When we take into account our family and friends whom we influence by the beauty or ugliness with which we choose to surround ourselves, this effect is greatly multiplied. But take look at the picture on an even grander scale yet: A decision to value beautiful artwork with our finances can support the artist and beauty-seeker, not merely to the point of maintaining a contribution to culture, but in the best case actually pursuing the craft in order to obtain an ever fuller and deeper understanding of beauty to share with the world. Perhaps investing in what today is considered merely a "luxury" will ensure that beautiful work is widely available for enjoyment for all people the way it might have been moreso in the past, and not just a "luxury" good for a select few. To my mind, this is the deepest value of investing in beautiful artwork.
That's why I'm so appreciative of every purchase and commission from my collectors.
What do you think? Were you surprised by the WSJ's reporting on luxury investments?
Hello there, I'm John H. Folley, an oil painter in the Boston School tradition. Thanks for visiting the Beauty Advocacy Blog, where it's my job to help you become a more discerning art appreciator.
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