With the economic situation being what it is – call it a downturn, call it a recession, call it what you like – more and more people are looking to their local art gallery (or indeed, an online gallery) for an investment that’s got a greater degree of safety than your more traditional portfolio. No one’s saying that painting is recession proof, but there are a growing number of people coming round to the idea that when you’re putting your money into canvas you’ve got a more than fair chance that it will retain (if not increase) its value over time.

Investing in art during a recession

Some investors and collectors are looking towards buying classics, hoping that current trend for lower prices at the auction house will turn up a bargain that will make a decent return once the markets readjust, or that paintings by the old masters at least won’t suffer any extreme fluctuations in price. In other places ownership is shifting; pieces which have been off the market for a long time are becoming available again as collectors re-evaluate their pieces. For the art collector, the recession’s certainly brought up some interesting options.

If you’re browsing an online gallery like this one then, what sort of thing should you be looking for? Is there an artist, or artists, that you should be keeping an eye on? Are you better to buy art online than in a physical art gallery or an auction house?

What to look out for.

As I’ve said on this site before (and it certainly bears repeating), one of the most common pieces of art investment advice you’re likely to hear is to buy something that you actually like, something that you want in your space – if you buy it purely for the money that you hope it’ll make in a few years’ time, then you’re missing out on a huge part of the experience. Plus, if it doesn’t make a financial return you’ll feel cheated – remember always that part of the investment is the pleasure that the piece is going to give you while you own it.

The work of new, relatively unknown artists is probably some of the most exciting collecting you can do – the hope of finding the next darling of the art world isn’t far away from anyone’s mind when visiting a graduate show, and there’s an absolute joy in finding something before it becomes really famous that’s hard to replicate elsewhere. Again though this often comes down to finding a piece that you connect with – if the cliché is true and the best artists aren’t appreciated in their own lifetimes, it might take a while for their influence to be felt.

The benefits of buying art online go beyond the simple facts of gallery overheads and auction room etiquette, although these are important things, especially for the first time collector. And ok, obviously I’m a little biased, but the range of art and artists you can browse from a site like Art2Arts is probably always going to be wider than that you could find locally, especially if you live away from major artistic centres.

Browse the work of our established and up and coming artists to find your perfect investment.