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By Swingers

Unlock the secrets of the art market and embark on your journey to invest in art wisely. Browse our guideline to find out more.


Collecting art isn’t just for the social elite. From setting a budget to honing your taste, we share our tips for getting past the blank canvas and investing in an artwork you love. Who knows – you might just discover the next Basquiat. 

From Leonardo Di Caprio buying Salvador Dalí paintings to Beyoncé snapping up works by Andy Warhol, the art world is swamped by celebrity investors. But art isn’t just for the rich and famous: while it sounds complicated, investing in art can simply mean buying something that you love and are excited to hang on your wall. 

What’s more, art can add colour to your home and your investment portfolio. An artwork’s value doesn’t rise or fall with the stock market, making it a great choice for anyone who wants to invest long-term and minimise risk.

Here are our tips for navigating the hype and buying your first piece of art. 

Find your ‘why’

Why do you want to invest in art? Are you hoping to make a profit or are you more interested in collecting art for your own enjoyment? Do you want a piece you can sell on relatively quickly or are you hoping to build a collection you can pass down to future generations? Getting clear on your goals will help you to select the right artwork, in the right time frame.

Hone your taste

an exhibition at saatchi gallery in london featuring abstract art

From 17th Century Baroque paintings to modern photography, the art world is expansive and often tricky to navigate. Rather than worrying about what counts as the ‘best’ type of art, spend some time figuring out what styles or categories really speak to you personally. Visit gallery installations, exhibitions and art fairs to get a sense of different time periods and genres. If you can’t get to a gallery, websites like Saatchi Art feature a range of interesting pieces chosen by professional curators. The more time you spend immersing yourself in art, the more your confidence will grow. 


Set your budget

an NY art exhibition featuring the work of french - romanian sculptor contantin brancusi

Before you start browsing in earnest, decide how much money you’re prepared to spend, not forgetting to factor in additional costs like shipping, storage and maintenance. It should always be an amount you’re prepared to part with in case the artwork goes down in value. Depending on your budget, you can opt for an original, a print (more affordable but less likely to turn a profit) or a reproduction (the most affordable option with the lowest value).

Galleries and online platforms like Artnet or Artsy are good for contemporary artworks, while auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s sell high-end, historical art pieces and give you the old-school bidding experience. Just be aware that these auction houses often add a buyer’s premium on top of the asking price.

Check out emerging artists

an abstract painting by moldovan artist anatol rurac

It can be tempting to go straight for the big names but for those of us without Banksy or Basquiat budgets, emerging artists can be a great entry point into the art world. As a rule, with contemporary art the earlier an artist is in their career the more affordable they will be. While the investment risk is higher with unknown names, the payout is usually much more if the artist you choose happens to become popular down the line. Find work that excites you by visiting local galleries and browsing platforms like Partnership Editions, which sells prints and originals by emerging artists from just £60.

Talk to the experts

Art dealer with newest acquisition that ended up being more valuable than initially thought

You wouldn’t buy a house without expert involvement – so why should investing in art be any different? The art world is vast and it can be tricky to know what to look for, especially as a newcomer. An art dealer, gallery owner or private collector can help you to navigate the market and find the best pieces to invest in according to your taste and budget. They can also be helpful for advice around practical things such as shipping and installation. 

Take your time

It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new purchase. But make sure to do your research before you commit, especially if you’re buying art over the internet. Verify the origin of the artwork and confirm you’re purchasing from a legitimate gallery, dealer or investment firm. You can even ask to be connected with the artist, if they are still alive. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions and to wait until they’ve been answered before money is exchanged. 

Don’t forget to enjoy it!

(Almost) no one can turn art into money overnight. Unlike other financial strategies, art investments don’t give you the flexibility to pull cash quickly in tough times. Market trends determine what price you’ll get for a particular piece and finding the right buyer can be tough. With that in mind, think of art as one section of a well-rounded investment portfolio and don’t rely on it for a steady income. Instead, only buy art that you really love and that you’re excited to display in your home. That way, any profits will simply be a welcome bonus.

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