A case for art investments

There is definitely a case for art investing given the recent investment returns of certain artworks. According to The Art Price, an art market information portal – ‘’The appeal of Art as an investment stems from the exponential value increases that affect certain works and, in certain cases, the media coverage they attract. 2017 saw plenty of examples of exceptional capital gains.’’

Average art investment returns globally are now in the double digits with an increase in the art buying population and the ease of flow of information being cited as some of the major drivers. A record was set recently with the highest amount paid for an art piece – The Salvator Mundi, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings sold for an eye-watering, record-breaking $450 million in November 2017, at Christie’s auction house in New York. It was sold for $10,000 twelve years prior!

The local art market is also increasingly becoming popular with both South African and foreign buyers alike. Alfie Bester, one of the co-founders of the Citadel Art Index which measures the local art market, thinks that the South African art market is poised to catch up with what is happening abroad.   Gerard Sekoto, who is considered a pioneer of black South African art, comes to mind. One of his artworks titled ‘Portrait of a man’ sold for an impressive £380,750 (ZAR 7,169,847) against an estimate of £100,000-150,000 on 12 September 2018.

It is recommended that a potential art investor should first have an appreciation for art in general and actually like the artwork considered, long before the financial gain is calculated. This, in my opinion, can only come from exposure to the sector through regular interaction with artists, visits to galleries and museums and research of the history of art and as well as of the artists who’ve had a major influence on the art scene in the past. We are fortunate enough to have great spaces in the country that offer this opportunity.


Have a good week!

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