Art as Investment


Heather James Fine Art has been in business for over 24 years with galleries located in Palm Desert, New York, Jackson Hole, San Francisco, and Montecito, as well as consultancies in Los Angeles, Chicago, Newport Beach, Austin, New Orleans, and Basel. As we have dealt with important artworks spanning a wide cross-section of genres and time periods, we have been fortunate to place works with some of the world’s top collectors. Always aiming to be a resource in art decisions for our clients, we have created this guide to the investment potential of art as an asset.

Some of our clients have asked why they should consider buying art in an uncertain economy. We do understand the instinct to wait for markets to stabilize before making any large purchases; however, many seasoned collectors are actively looking for opportunities now more than ever. In fact, it is precisely during times of financial uncertainty when many choose to invest in tangible assets such as art. Investors are seeing that art is one of the few assets where they can currently get yield, as other assets like commercial and residential real estate are less reliable because of COVID-19 disruptions. Our experience has been that during financial crises, such as in 2001 and in 2008, there is a flight to blue-chip tangible assets. Historically, blue-chip artwork has performed at a commensurate rate versus the S&P 500, as the graphs in the following pages demonstrate.

Warren Buffet has famously said to “be greedy when others are fearful,” suggesting that times of turmoil can present great opportunities to buy. With this catalog, we hope to demystify the art market a bit and to offer some examples and data on art as an investment.