You don’t need to own ‘The Scream’ to make a profit from art

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Edvard Munch’s iconic painting, ‘The Scream’, is expected to fetch at least $80m when it goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York on 2nd May. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most famous – and disturbing – works in the history of modern art, but in-the-know dealers say you don’t need to own a globally acclaimed masterpiece to make a significant amount of money from art.
Stephen Howes, an internationally respected art dealer, says: “There is big money in the market and nowadays it’s not just the Picassos, Da Vincis and Warhols which are reaching unprecedented figures.
“The demand for great pieces by less well known artists is strong, and growing all the time, as investors are keen to discover The Next Big Name in order to make serious money.”
This soaring demand, says Mr Howes, is being driven by those who are turning their backs on the more traditional forms of investment, such as blue-chip stocks and commodities.
He explains: “Original art, which always rises in value due to its rarity, is now widely viewed by investors as a safe haven in these economically turbulent times. Buying art used to be seen as ‘an alternative’ investment option, but now its very much part of the mainstream.
“Savvy investors recognise that original art prices are increasing between 30 and 35 per cent each year – meaning it is outperforming almost every other form of investment, including gold.”
To stress his point, the art dealer confirms that he has just sold a painting by the recently deceased, Birmingham-born painter, Don Clarke, to a Spanish buyer for more than five times what he paid for it.
Stephen Howes insists that by following a few tips, “anyone can make a decent profit” from art.
He says: “For the best investment opportunities, you need to do your homework and research key trends and up and coming artists.   Similarly, you must keep an eye on the market and be prepared to sell when it is favourable to do so – don’t hang on to it unless you’re sentimentally attached to it.
“Also, always buy from a reputable, experienced dealer and preferably from someone who knows the artists they’re representing personally for the best deal.
“In addition, I think it’s a great idea to start a collection based around one theme, artist or movement so you develop your own expertise in one area, making future purchases easier and, most likely, more profitable.”
By Stephen Howes
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