Could buying paintings make you rich? This was the title of a 2017 BBC News article that discussed the $450 million-dollar (£341m) sale of a Leonardo da Vinci painting.
The article went on to mention that the same painting 60 years ago was priced and sold at auction for $55 (£45).
So, the answer to the question in the article is an emphatic YES.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean every painting is a da Vinci and each dealer can sell for any price they want. The grey area of appraisal, worth and pricing is literally what makes buying and selling art an “art” in itself.
What does this have to do with the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Fair question. As we enter into the fourth month (feels more like the fourth year)of 2020, one would be hard pressed to find any reliable insight on what will happen in the world’s top economic markets after this pandemic ends. Now, direct that same question to the world’s top art experts and one will have an even more difficult time finding any truths.
This article is not meant to answer the question of whether investing in art at this time is the right financial move for any speculative investor. We are simply outlining the opportunity art offers during uncertain times.
We can all agree that at this specific time feelings of despair, hopelessness and refuge, filter through each and every human being affected by this tragic pandemic. In that same spirit, art may be the only thing to connect us all.
Art, in almost any medium imaginable, is one of the rare visual languages that can be communicated without translation shared religious beliefs or cultural values. It connects with each person differently and lasts lifetimes.
If we’re talking financial assets, art can be considered a luxury. Only a select few can afford a half-a-billion-dollar paintings. But that does not mean that only the rich can acquire art as an asset.
As the world moves forward and we eventually solve this pandemic, the medium of art will still be there. Although the worth will always be a matter of interpretation, the works will always matter to those that believe and admire them.