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Buying Art: For Love, Investment, or Both?

Thinking about investing in some artwork? Be it a painting or some sort of media art (i.e. sculpture), there are several reasons people purchase art. If you have your eye on a piece, are you planning to buy for love, investment, or both?

Art is subjective first and foremost. Even those who choose to invest have to be inspired or moved by the artworks they purchase, and perhaps even the artists themselves. But, when we purchase artwork that moves us in any way, we often wonder whether or not the value will extend beyond intrinsic — especially if the artwork is original and the price tag is high. As we have several art shops here on Cedros Ave., we thought we’d weigh in and provide some insight on this topic.

Buying Art as an Investment

If you’re curious about the investment aspect of art buying here are some interesting facts to note about art sales. In 2014, patrons spent more than $60 billion on art. This is up 67% from 2009, showing that art lovers are becoming more and more interested in making purchases. The 2014 Deloitte Art & Finance Report notes that 75% of those art buyers said they were purchasing their pieces as an investment.

If you are considering becoming one of those art buyers, think about why you are planning to buy. Are you in love with the piece, or are you planning this purchase as an investment? As you ponder this question, factor in these four things:

1. Avoid the hype: Only works by a few artists in any period will generate big profits when you try to sell. If you get caught up in the hype, you could fall into a dangerous pattern, hoping to purchase artwork before an artist is ‘discovered’ and then sell it once he or she becomes a hit. These situations are actually very rare.

2. Do your homework: Before you purchase, make sure to determine the fair market value of the art. Work with a reputable art advisor to find the sale prices of similar works, or check the prices at auction houses. You also want to learn about the artist. The information can help provide you with context when, or if, you decide to invest.

3. Don’t believe in myths: Just because an artist is selling a number of pieces, this does not automatically mean that they are valuable. Don’t assume that since you are buying from an up and coming artist, you are headed for a windfall.

4. Value your collection: If you do acquire a collection, remember to have the collection appraised. This is an especially good idea if you are making a will or planning to give to charity.

Buying Art for the Love of It

We’ll just state for the record, that we’re not advocating one reason over the other for purchasing art. After all, art is subjective and is ultimately meant to inspire. Regardless of your motivation, you should buy art that you do in fact, love. If it just so happens that you also support the artist themselves in their endeavors, even better. If you are purchasing art for the mere love of it, we will say there is less pressure in regards to whether or not it will increase in dollar value. You will, however, be gaining a piece that has intrinsic value, which can be equally as important depending on what motivates you and your lifestyle.

If you’re in the North San Diego area please come visit us on Cedros Avenue. We have several art-centric shops for you to check out. 

If you fancy impressionist art and love the ocean/beach life, Wade Koniakowsky‘s gallery is a must-see.




If you have a special love of antiquities, the Antique Warehouse is a treasure trove of vintage art pieces.

Antique Warehouse Cedros Ave

Solana Beach Art & Frame offers a unique collection of fine art prints, in addition to a wide selection framing options.

Solana Beach Art and Frame on Cedros Ave

If you enjoyed this post you might also want to read, “2 Little Secrets About Our Local Coffee Shops on Cedros.”

The Cedros Ave. Merchants Association supports all of the vendors and businesses on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach. The Avenue covers two and a half enchanting blocks of more than 85 boutiques, shops, cafes, salons, day spas, art galleries and more! Located just 20 miles north of downtown San Diego, Cedros Ave. has been a point of interest for over three decades and is the only shopping district in San Diego solely populated by independent boutiques and businesses.