Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fine Art Paintings’ Rising Prices and 5 Rules for Buying & Selling Paintings and Fine Art

Wallace Weir Fahnestock (Vermont, 1877-1962) original oil on canvas of offered at 31 Gallery

Why has the price of good art continued to rise regardless of what the economy does? If you’re like me, you might have wondered why this is true. I have seen the figures, and it’s evident that good art has been the best investment over the years, surpassing most other types of financial investments. When I see paintings selling for 250 Million or more, I can’t help but believe this is true.

“Follow the growing trends,” was one of the first lessons I learned as a stockbroker, so in applying this to the Antique and Fine Art field, you’d have to say the trend is definitely up, and that’s where we should be dealing.

I have encouraged all our members to study and do research on art and artists that interest them. Personally, I have made more money with my art purchases than from any other items. This being so, I suggest you spend the time necessary to educate yourself in the field of art. This doesn't mean for you to abandon all you other research, but to include it whether or not it’s your favorite area. I try to be familiar with a great number of artists, but I spend extra amounts of time studying groups of artists, such as Kentucky Artists or Artists of the West. Choose whatever interests you most.

So why is good art selling at the skyrocketing prices it does? I think I might have partly figured one reason after I attended a very large Art Show yesterday. As I walked through booth after booth, I realized all the works seemed the same to me. There were lots of large canvases and bright colors, but one just faded into the next. Then I had a strange thought: These must be props for department store windows. Sounds crazy, I know. I guess what I was really thinking was that these pieces were so very commercial and lacking in artistic mastery. Nothing made me say, Wow! The pieces selling at this large art show had selling prices from $500-$3,000 and I truly believe if someone tried to re-sell one of these a year from now, they’d be lucky to sell it for $150.

Then a thought hit me. Where are we going to get great works of art in the future? The lack of contemporary works to appreciate in the future or the lack of works that will be sought after by future collectors was evident to me. It will have to be from the secondary markets. This only reinforced my belief in the trend showing the prices of good art, purchased in the secondary markets, escalating with no end in sight.

This is also why we should pursue good artwork to sell. I hope you won't think this is just an old man’s opinion. Good art will last over time, but bad art will always be bad art. What does an up trend in the art market mean for 31 Club Members? Your time spent becoming knowledgeable in the art area will be time well spent and profitable. Having said that, below you’ll find some general rules and guidelines for buying and selling fine art.

5 General Rules to Buying and Selling Paintings and Fine Art

1. Oil Paintings, as a rule, bring the most money.

2. Size matters. Larger paintings usually bring the most money, but not always.

3. Watercolor Paintings and Drawings follow oil paintings for value in that order. Prints are usually last in value.

4. The Artist’s record of sales prices is very important, and his mark (the highest price paid for one of his pieces) will usually be very important in the future prices for his work.

5. Buy the best art you can afford.

Remember, these are general rules, and with any rule, there are always exceptions. Keep this in mind as a guideline and always do your research.

The secondary market for high quality artworks is where you and I can affect our future plans in the art and antique business most. When we buy the best art we can afford, we will always have customers. It may take a little more time to present a piece to the point where a customer will see it, but when he does, he will pay the asking price. This is the function of the 31 Club Gallery and Marketplace. Over the last couple of weeks, we sold a $5,000 painting and a vase for $3,750. Now is the time to start having the marketplace represent your quality pieces, because buyers are searching our site for good works of art and other high quality antiques & collectibles.

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