Invest in art

By Vikram Barhat | September 30, 2013 | Last updated on September 30, 2013
2 min read

When you’re thinking about preserving your legacy through estate planning, trusts, life insurance policies, wills, and estate freezes come to mind. But what about art?

Art is more than just a thing of beauty to hang on your walls — investing in art is another way to preserve your wealth and pass more than just money on to your heirs.

But, while acquiring a well-thought-out collection can be incredibly satisfying, make sure you do it for the right reasons. Art’s an illiquid asset, so it’s not a good investment if you’re only hoping to make a quick buck.

“Investing in art is an attractive option, provided you are passionate about it,” says Sandra Henderson, senior vice-president of Eastern Canada, BMO. “If you don’t enjoy it and it’s just an asset, then it’s really not valuable.”

Aesthetics aside, there are also great tax and estate planning advantages when pieces are gifted as a collection.

If you’ve made the decision to invest in art, gallery curators can connect you with artists, as well as educate you about what makes a painting valuable. If you’re not inclined to gallery hop, however, there are other resources that can help you get started.

Auction houses, such as Bonhams, Christies and Waddingtons, offer deep expertise, and many have curation and appraisal services as well. Brokers can also help you acquire art that suits your tastes, the environment it’s going in, and the budget you’re working with. And you can usually try out pieces at home before you buy.

If you’re unsure about art investment getting more information through sites like Art Daily, Art as an Asset and The Art Market is a good starting point.

To be on trend, a good place to begin is right here at home with Canadian art. With its focus on modernist and contemporary works, Canadian art is now one of the hottest markets in private collecting, says Mary Sue Rankin, owner of the Edward Day Gallery in Toronto.

Whatever you choose, if you have an interest in art, it can be a great way to add to your legacy with an investment that’s a little more fun than the typical portfolio.

Vikram Barhat