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Buying Art for Love or Money, Look Magazine Brushing up on the fine art of investment, The Weekend Australian Quality art, a quality investment, AHA Investor Magazine Art Investment: Half Yearly Report, AHA Investor Magazine Charcoal Art targeted under the new Carbon Tax, AHA Investor Magazine
What Now? Australian Art Collector Magazine Investing in art, Your Money Magazine How to Profit from Investing in Art, The Wall Street Journal
Switzer TV Interview
Buying Art for Love or Money by Jill Sykes, LOOK magazine, Art Gallery Society of NSW, Dec /Jan 2011, p32.
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Brushing up on the fine art of investment by Virginia Harrison The Weekend Australian, September 24-25, 2001
With shares sliding and property stalled, art is in the frame. ART lovers are often savvy investors without even realising it. As an asset class, art is a proven long-term store of wealth. With stockmarket volatility and sovereign-debt woes driving investors towards hard assets, art is an increasingly popular way to add depth to a traditional investment portfolio. Art offers low correlation to the price movements of other assets, and it is effective as a unique hedging strategy. Works of art can also attract an income stream. Experts point to annual rates of return of 8-20 per cent for the best-performing sectors. Plus it looks nice on the wall. But these so-called emotional assets, or "passion investments", aren't for everyone. Here's a basic rundown on what to look for -- and what to avoid -- for newly etched art investors. Most first-time art investors start with between $2000 and $10,000, says Qeturah Rasyth, president
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Brushing up on the fine art of investment (cont)
of QMR Fine Art Consulting, a Pittsburgh firm that specialises in 19th-century American masters. "When starting out, tailor it to your budget," Rasyth says. "Get the best work of art from the best artist, at that price.â€œ Works from emerging artists allow new investors to dip into the market, but they carry more risk. "You can start applying some investment logic and investment rationale, in investment-grade work, at around the $10,000 mark," says Alistair Bailey of Art Equity, an art investment and advisory firm based in Sydney. "It becomes highly speculative below that, at sub-$10,000.â€œ One common mistake art investors make is to "chase a signature," he says. "Not all paintings by an artist are going to be good. The big thing for investors to get their head around is that element of subjectivity and what makes this a good painting versus that one.â€œ Education is the best way to understand the subjective aspects of art investing. Get a feel for the market and what appeals to you. "It pays to spend time wandering the galleries. Work out your budget, then spend time familiarising yourself with what you like. Look to get the best possible work you can by that artist in that medium for the money the you're paying," Bailey says. "With fine art, if you're not passionate about it, it's probably not worth doing. It heightens your level of risk. You're not necessarily taking on board as much as you would otherwise," he added. Looking ahead, contemporary art is the sector that will drive returns, according to Bailey, while China and India are increasingly attracting investors. Bailey also names Danish artist Morten Lassen and Australia's Ben Quilty and Jasper Knight as ones to watch.
Art dealers and advisers are good places to seek help. Global auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's offer courses in art education. Savvy investors can then track trends across sectors, such as old masters or modern contemporary. "Just as within stocks you have industry sectors, so too through the art market you have sectors, and each performs differently at different times," says Randall Willette, managing director of Fine Art Wealth Management, an art-investment consultancy based in London. "That's where the correlation benefits (come in) -- how those sectors move independently of each other," Willette says.
Brushing up on the fine art of investment (cont)
Rates of return vary across sectors. The Mei Moses All Art index is one benchmark that tracks the long-term performance of fine art. The index achieved annual returns of 16.6 per cent last year, while the S&P 500 Total Return Index, which includes reinvested dividends, returned 15.1 per cent.
QMR's Rasyth says you can expect an initial capital gain of 25 per cent. "With investment art, you should always make money when you make the purchase," Rasyth says. "Otherwise it's not a strong investment at the time.â€œ From there, works generally appreciate at 10-20 per cent a year, she says. "That's not true for emerging artwork, but for Hudson River (School) you can definitely expect that," Rasyth says. A top Hudson River School work sells for an average of $US400,000, according to Rasyth. Look for works by Albert Bierstadt and Martin Johnson Heade. A mid-tier work from this period will go for about $50,000. Artists with works at that level include Thomas Doughty and William Casilear. And keep an eye on Andy Warhol. "The traditional barometer of market confidence has been Warhol. When Warhol is travelling well, the market confidence is generally up," Art Equity's Bailey says. In May, Christie's sold Andy Warhol's Self-Portrait for $US38.4 million, beating estimates of between $US20m and $US30m for the work. Broadly speaking, clients can expect returns of 8-10 per cent over a seven to 10-year period, says Bailey. But an illiquid market can trip up investors, he warns. "Those who come into it simply with the view of making money are the ones that tend to get burnt, because they try and trade it too quickly," Bailey says.
Playing the art market doesn't always require shopping for works. Investors can gain exposure to art through the equity market via shares of the auction house Sotheby's. Then there are art funds, which offer a kind of middle ground between art ownership and stockmarket dabbling. Typically, art-fund managers purchase works and dispose of them five to 10 years later. Investors may borrow the works for personal use, yet the success of these funds has been patchy at best. "To date, they haven't worked well," Bailey says, "It's something that has potential and merit. They haven't had enough time to go through a natural maturation phase.â€œ The Fine Art Fund Group, an international investment firm, is the most prominent. The base 08 Editorial& News Features 2011
Brushing up on the fine art of investment (cont)
investment for its $US100m fund is $US250,000, and it boasts an average annualised return on assets sold of more than 25 per cent.
Fine Art Wealth Management reported on more than 40 of these investment vehicles across 13 countries to provide a snapshot of the industry. It found the key challenge for art funds was raising capital, but the pipeline of new offerings is growing. Willette, the firm's managing director, says one advantage of art funds is their ability to follow market trends in particular sectors. There's "real momentum building around these investments, not just in the US and Europe, but all over the world," he says. "We have also seen (emotional asset) investors wanting to go it alone pooling their financial resources with friends and family to create the equivalent of an investment club," Willette says. The Art Fund Association (www.artfundassociation.com) is a fairly new trade group set up in the US to serve the art-fund industry. It's a good jumping-off point for investors seeking to find out more about these specialised emotional asset funds. Art buyers may want to put their investment to work. Art Equity has been an architect of corporate art rentals in Australia, for example. The firm rents artworks owned by its clients to corporations, creating an income stream for the owner.
"They generally go out on fixed-term contracts and generate incomes of 5-7 per cent net per annum," Art Equity's Bailey says. Rental fees depend on the work and price point, but the potential alone can strengthen the asset's investment appeal. For Rasyth, leasing out an investment is more trouble than it's worth. "I would never advise someone to rent an artwork out," she says. "You stand the risk of damage and other things.â€œ Bailey says renting art to generate income is a perk of ownership -- "an extra string to the bow" in the hunt for long-term capital appreciation. However, he adds: "Those who are attracted to the income are better off looking at something else more liquid."
Quality art, a quality investment by Alistair Bailey (Art Equity), AHA Investor, Feb/Mar 2011, p38.
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Art Investment: Half Yearly Report by Alistair Bailey (Art Equity), AHA Investor, Jun/Jul 2011
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Charcoal Art targeted under the new Carbon Tax by Alistair Bailey (Art Equity), AHA Investor, Aug/Sep 2011, p38.
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What Now? Interview by Ashley Crawford Australian Art Collector, Oct-Dec 2011 p.104/5
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Investing in art Your Money Magazine, Oct 2011, p90.
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How to profit from investing in art The Wall Street Journal, Weekend Investor, Sept 2, 2011
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Switzer TV Alistair Bailey interviewed by Peter Switzer, 14 September 2011
Super TV: how to invest in art 14th September 2011