Overcoming the Challenges of Investing in Art

November 4, 2021

The art market has become one of the most profitable and rewarding fields for investment in recent years. However, while the potential dividends are great, identifying opportunities and capitalizing on them in the art world can be tricky, and mistakes can often prove to be costly.

Because of the inherent difficulties in valuing any kind of art, it is important to do thorough research and ensure your money is protected as much as possible.

This guide will discuss how to avoid some common mistakes that people make, regardless of their experience and knowledge of the art industry.

The Pitfalls

At its core, collecting fine art is an appealing activity that also happens to have opportunities for financial benefits. Because of its potential for lucrative returns, there are an increasing number of would-be investors flocking to the market.

The tendency amongst many novices to buy without having a comprehensive grasp of the whole picture. Wealthy individuals who are just getting into the art scene are often naturally over-eager and spurred on by their burning ambition to succeed. This causes some to place too much trust in the opinions of unverified experts.

Do Your Homework

Art investment is not as straightforward as some might make it out to be. It takes a true master of their craft to make such challenging problems seem effortless.

An experienced art investor can spot a fake or a fraudulent dealer a mile off. If you do not do adequate research to prepare yourself for upcoming difficulties, you may end up losing money and value.

Knowing how to optimally invest in art is unfortunately not enough. Finding ways to avoid bumps in the road is just as important.

Once you have a foundation of knowledge, you will be in a much better position. This will allow you to make smarter decisions without catastrophic consequences and can start building a more efficient art investment strategy.

So, what are some pitfalls you should be aware of and how can you best avoid them?

Shady Art Dealers Promising The World

Art investment is worthwhile only when you buy original works of art, whether they be paintings, drawings, or other forms of artwork. For this, you need a reliable seller, an experienced art dealer, or a reputable art gallery.

Nowadays, different marketplaces allow you to buy art directly from artists, which is definitely a good idea for those who prefer online shopping.

The Common Problem At Hand: If you start by looking for cheap alternative ways to buy art, you may be creating a difficult problem for yourself. When you seek cheap dealers and purchasing methods, you become more vulnerable to being ripped off. Certain unscrupulous dealers will seize the opportunity and spot your readiness for discounted deals. They may try to impose seemingly dirt-cheap pieces on you, knowing they are not legitimate.

You never know whether you buy originals or fakes and copies from dealers offering rock bottom or heavily discounted prices for seemingly quality products.

In these cases, it is possible that you are simply buying stolen art, which has become a widespread issue.

How To Overcome: Don’t cut corners or lower your standards for the sake of a few dollars. Sacrificing integrity and legitimacy is never a good idea but in art investment, it is the equivalent of signing your own death warrant. Ultimately, you get what you pay for.

Not Understanding What You Want To Buy

In the world of art, there are a myriad of items you can collect for personal pleasure or financial gain. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as buying what you love or what may be attractive to you.

Many novice investors follow their hearts and as soon as something catches their eye. It can be easy to part with your money before asking appropriate questions or fully examining the piece.

The Common Problem At Hand: If you solely focus on something that is trendy or purely aesthetically pleasing, you probably won’t be satisfied with the outcome.

Ultimately, art investment is not only about the inner pleasure and joy that it brings. People make the mistake of moving away from objective observation and appraisals when investing in art, often resulting in costly mistakes.

How To Overcome: Before you begin your art investment journey and make the first contribution to your collection, make sure to find time to properly understand and appraise the piece you’re interested in.

While your artistic preferences are certainly important, at the end of the day making a fundamentally sound artistic investment will have little to do with how you feel about the pieces in question.

Believing In Yourself

Not questioning yourself can foster powerful self-belief. It shows true grit and determination which can be the foundation for future art investment successes.

If doubts begin to creep in, the entire project can unravel quickly as can your own self-assurance and assertiveness, both of which are vital to art investment success.

The Common Problem At Hand: Confidence is a strong and positive virtue, but only when it is not exaggerated. You must acknowledge your own level of comprehension and understanding of the investing strategies involved, and the art market in general. If you feel like you lack experience in certain situations and need help, it is perfectly normal. When people feel overwhelmed, they tend to make more errors.

How To Overcome: To avoid needless mistakes, it is always better to take a minute to pause  and wind down until you have sufficiently recomposed yourself. Hiring an art investment advisor who can guide you through some of the steps is a decent option.

This will allow you to keep the flow going but take the pressure off you. It leaves your investments in good hands while you can keep an eye on things without being so hands-on.

It will give you a refreshing break, but also provide a real opportunity for you to learn from their experience.

With the help of an expert, art investment will become markedly easier, as you are going to attribute part of your responsibilities to a qualified person for however long or short you deem necessary.


At the end of the day, investment is all about benefits. However, art is a more sophisticated form of investment, where you can hopefully find the fine line between what you like and what brings prospective returns in the days to come.

Finding a balance between your passion and your savings account, fine tuning it and compromising with both is the key to a happy and rewarding art investment portfolio and balanced life.

Masterworks is a fintech company democratizing the art market. Our investors are able to fractionally invest in $1mn+ works of art by some of the world's most famous and sought-after artists.