Why Art Investors Should Avoid Watercolour Paintings
I was going through an art auction catalogue the other day when is spotted a beautiful painting by one of my favourite artists, John Glover (English born Australian landscape artist 1767-1849) which to my surprise was listed with an estimate of only AU$10,000-AU$15,000 which is drastically lower than the AU$100,000 which his larger paintings usually sell for. On further inspection I realised that the painting in the auction catalogue was a watercolour which explained the lower price but also got me thinking about why it is that watercolour paintings sell for less than oil or acrylic paintings. After extensive research and analysis I came up with the following reasons for watercolour paintings being less popular and less valuable than oil or acrylic paintings:
-Watercolour was originally by artists used for sketches, cartoons, drawings and other preparatory/trial work for their more highly regarded oil paintings.
-Watercolour is a more difficult medium to master.
-Watercolour paintings are more susceptible to damage because of the transparent pigment which is prone to fading and because they are executed on fragile paper.
-Watercolour was regarded as more of an industrial form of art and was widely used in applications related to architecture, design and planning.
-Watercolour did not suit the large scale, vibrant and bold art of the abstract art movement and thus became even less popular.
-Watercolour is known as the amateurs medium because it is convenient, easy to work with and the technique used to paint with watercolour is comparatively simple (although difficult to master)
For these reasons I would suggest that anyone looking to invest in art avoid watercolour paintings unless they are by one of the masters of watercolour such as Turner (image above is a watercolour by turner)
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.