Investing in Scottish Art
Frequently at Red Rag we are asked about buying Scottish Art and Scottish Artists for Investment. The answer
is always the same. We recommend buying contemporary Scottish Art because you like it - not as an investment.
But there has been an increase in values for modern and contemporary Scottish art works from both living
and dead artists. And, we know this provides some of our Scottish art collectors with a positive incremental feeling of enjoyment towards
the art works they have purchased.
Certainly Scottish Art collectors who purchased Scottish artist Jack Vettriano's contemporary paintings
as investments in the early and mid 1990's should feel well satisfied. The most famous painting by the Artist - The Singing Butler- was
originally bought from a Scottish Art Gallery in 1991 and sold in 2004 at auction for £750,000. And in just over a decade, even the average price of his contemporary paintings has risen from a few hundred to tens of thousands of pounds.
So we have put together what we hope are some helpful Red Rag hints and tips about investing in Scottish art.
Know Your Market
The art world is notoriously difficult to understand. But like other forms of investment the more you know - the better the likely return. So make sure you commit plenty of time.
Understanding the present day Scottish Artist market in which Red Rag specialises is a sizeable task. If you extend your area of interest further to the art works of dead Scottish Artists or European or American artists the task becomes immense. Ideally you should focus on specific niches and get to know as much about the subject as possible.
Apart from regular and diligent research through books, magazines and Internet you should visit as many art exhibitions as possible. At Art Galleries use the opportunity of asking both gallery staff and exhibiting artists about areas which interest you.
Focus your Art Interest
The overriding criteria should be to choose art you like. That way you are more likely to make a greater commitment to understand it. Even then knowing exactly what you are looking for can be incredibly difficult. Because the art market is so large and diverse you need to limit your initial search to a manageable size. This will vary from person to person but even if you decide to concentrate on present day living Scottish Artists there is more segmentation needed. For example: Geographic areas- English Artists, Scottish Artists
and Welsh Artists; Art genre - Figures,
Marine , Figurative, Realism and Conceptual Art; Type of Paintings - Oil, Acrylic, Watercolour or Drawings.
Determining what art you are looking for will take a long time but if you are serious about investing in art it is essential to know and specify your niche.
Know the Factors driving art values
Establishing the value and potential value of art can be as difficult as spotting the next Damien Hirst. But the factors which can influence art prices for artist's work are easier to identify. They include: the popularity and reputation of an artist; views of art critics and commentators; the quality of the art work; the subject; previous buyers especially if they are celebrities or high profile collectors
Buy the most expensive you can afford
It might appear attractive to buy young unknown Scottish Artists before their paintings rocket in value - but the odds of success and often quality of the art make it a high risk strategy. Remember the best art by artists whether they are established or emerging is likely to appreciate more in value then inferior work by the same artist. So buy the best art you can afford - preferably by the best (proven and established) artists.
It is always advisable to buy quality art with original framing. All Red Rag Scottish Art comes direct from the artist's studio - but if you are going to buy older art remember to look for any damage. Paintings can be repaired but value will be enhanced and better maintained by paintings in pristine condition.
If you are not buying new contemporary art - try to buy art with a documented history. A good provenance may cost more but the re-sale value and desirability is significantly enhanced. This is particularly the case if the painting has an interesting history or is of significance in the artist's career.
A key quality stamp needed for art investment is the artist's signature. So always make sure when you buy art that it is signed or initialed. Without it generally selling becomes more difficult.
Finally remember to keep the paperwork for your own purchases. They form an important part of the paintings history which will be of interest to future investors.
Buy the right subjects
Most artists will paint hundreds of paintings over their lifetime. Their art styles and subjects may vary enormously. Buying art for investment means you need to know what are typical benchmark paintings for each artist. For example: a leading Scottish portrait painter may have painted many subjects, but a painting of the King or Queen is likely to be more valuable than a portrait of the artist's next door neighbour, or of a Landscape painting by the same artist. You will also probably find Oil paintings by an artist to be much more collectible and valuable than watercolour paintings by the same artist.
Time your buying
The Art market is like other markets. There are highs and lows and there are fashions. It pays to be cautious. If an artist is dominating the headlines or dinner party conversations and you have one of his or her paintings - then it maybe time to think about selling it. You certainly should be wary about buying another painting by the artist. Right now there is big interest in Contemporary Scottish Art. And the wider Contemporary art market continues to encroach on the price levels previously reserved for the high end of the Impressionist market
Buy Small Scottish Art works
Looking at a contemporary painting on a price per square inch basis you will find small Scottish Art paintings are priced higher than larger paintings. The major reason for this is to do with market demand. There are always more art buyers who have the budget and physical space in their art collection for small paintings than larger paintings.
Finally Look after your Investment - it pays to look after your Scottish Art. In the long term attrition is one of the basic reasons why paintings and sculptures increase in value. Eventually fewer items survive and those that have survived usually deteriorate. If you look after your Scottish Art investment and take care of it, then it will fetch more than the average in the future.