By Robyn A. Friedman
City & Shore Magazine
So, you’re interested in investing in art? Assuming your tastes have evolved from that M.C. Escher poster you had hanging in your college dorm room, South Florida presents a literal palette of galleries and dealers with pieces sure to satisfy the preferences of any art aficionado. But how do you get started?
“When I first began collecting art, a very wise gallery owner told me, ‘Buy art because you love it, not as an investment, unless you are buying Master works,’” says Dindy Yokel, who has been an art investor for 23 years. “I couldn’t imagine parting with a single work I’ve acquired. They aren’t investments – they are reflections of the moments of my life.” A publicist formerly from Boca Raton, Yokel now works with Vintage Luxe Up, a company that takes vintage scarves by designers such as Hermès, Chanel and Gucci and “upcyles” them into collectible works of art.
One reason to make sure you love your piece is because despite your best efforts, it may not appreciate in value. Indeed, investing in art is not for the faint of heart because it’s risky – and is a long-term investment. “If you don’t do your research properly, it’s very risky,” says Edgar Pozos, owner of Galeria Del Sol, a boutique picture-framing store in Miami Beach, where he also keeps a selection of contemporary, local and Latin American art on display for sale. “You have to be very cautious and get a lot of advice on what you’re buying.”
Here are some tips for novice investors:
- Identify the artist you’d like to collect. Do you prefer to collect the works of artists such as Andy Warhol or Keith Haring – known artists whose works will be pricey – or emerging artists you think have possibilities and would like to take a gamble on? “If you really want to invest in art, you have to go to the big names and the blue-chip level, which keep going up because there is a demand for them,” Pozos says.
- Conduct exhaustive research on emerging artists. Learn everything you can not only about the artist but about the galleries that represent him or her, pricing and provenance. The works of an emerging artist will be less expensive, but they come with greater risk. “You can have a young artist who starts very inexpensively but a big gallery discovers him and starts promoting him, and within the next two years, the prices go very high,” Pozos says.
- Find a reputable gallery. Be sure the piece you’re buying is authentic and comes with a certificate of authenticity. Be cautious.
- Establish a budget and stick to it. Feel free to start small. Pozos knows of someone who purchased a set of four pieces by Haring 20 years ago for $6,000 and recently sold them for $50,000. “You can start with a very small budget,” he says. “But people who want to get into art get addicted and very enthusiastic about it, and many start building from there. It becomes a very nice habit.”
- Compare prices. Pozos said that websites such as Artsy.net and 1stdibs.com make it easy for collectors to compare pricing. And remember that even gallery prices can be negotiated.