Chinese and Yesterday

Art is indisbutably an emotional medium. We connect memories and aspirations, color preferences and even mood to the art we select for our homes. But should art purchasers be driven by emotion alone?  My wife and I have a deep attachment and special memories associated with a bright, choppy, neo-impressionist painting of a field of sunflowers. We picked it up in Spain on our honeymoon, and while it’s far from our most valuable piece, we adore it.  We “get it”; the decision to buy art can easily be from the heart…and not the head.

For many buyers, their art selections from local artists, juried shows, gifts of art and vacations become beloved elements of the home. That being said, sometimes these acquisitions are frankly driven by a lack of education and awareness. Sometimes people see a “space to fill”, such as above a fireplace, and off they go to a local gallery, furniture store or “gift show” (Big Hint: beware of the Gift Show painting – read on!). They pay hundreds or even thousands on a piece that is mass produced in China…that will be nearly worthless in a few short years. This is not to malign Asian art. That region of the world has given us some of the most magnificent art ever produced – even up to today. The Asian fine art market is booming, and there are many fine artists producing fantastic work right now. But I am talking about “assembly line” art by unknown artists who paint over an outlined canvas, producing the same painting over and over, every day.  People see a large painting and a decent price and go for it, also thinking their purchase is an  ”investment” in art.  It is not! If y ou just love it, OK, buy it, but don’t be fooled into thinking it will grow in value.

So if you intend to buy a painting that  you love and that also will appreciate, you don’t necessarily need to spend tens of thousands…in many cases you can find a lovely investment grade painting that is equivalent in price as a “Chinese and Painted Yesterday” canvas I just described (sample photo here).  But if you don’t spend significant dollars in a fine shop or auction, I certainly advise you consider taking the time to find a reputable dealer who knows their stuff, who can help you match your budget, your taste, and that space above the fireplace to a piece of art that will deliver a profit should you choose to sell or bequeath it.