Art Investment: The Best and Worst Selling Subjects Revealed
One of the most important factors that people should consider when investing in art is the effect that the subject of an artwork can have on its desirability and value. When looking at artworks to purchase as an investment it is very easy to give in to personal taste and preference instead of focusing on buying an artwork that will attract the largest number of potential buyers. Although you may like the subject of a particular artwork, your tastes and preferences may be in the minority so it is important that you are aware of which subjects are more popular and which are less popular before you make a purchase.
As a general rule artworks that contain sexually explicit nudity or graphic violence are out for obvious reasons. Portraits are also out for the simple reason that not many people would want to hang a painting of some random person in their house unless the artwork was painted by a very famous artist or the portrait was of a famous person. Another potential turn off for potential buyers is artworks that contain overtly political, cultural or religious statements which may cause offence to certain groups of people. I would also recommend that you stay away from any subject that is overly obscure or bizarre as common sense would suggest that the market for such a subject would be very narrow.
The Fine Art Trade Guild conducted a survey in the UK through its magazine Art Business Today (http://www.fineart.co.uk/abt_about.asp) to determine the best selling (primary market) subjects for paintings in the UK. According to the survey the top ten best selling subjects for paintings in the UK are:
1. Traditional landscapes.
2. Local views.
3. Modern or semi-abstract landscapes.
6. Figure studies (excluding nudes).
7. Seascapes, harbour, and beach scenes.
9. Impressionistic landscapes.
One particularly important point to keep in mind is that most artists are know for producing artwork of a particular subject so I would recommend that you stick to investing in artworks that depict the subject that the artist is best know for as this should increase your chances of selling the work at a higher price.
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.
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