Investing in Contemporary Art: How to Make Smart Purchases

Investing in Contemporary Art: How to Make Smart Purchases

Contemporary art is a vibrant and diverse scene, especially in Australia, with artists from all over the country producing innovative and exciting work. More than 1300 art galleries and around 48,000 practising professional artists are in Australia as of 2023. From the bustling galleries of Sydney and Melbourne to the up-and-coming art scenes in Adelaide and Perth, there are countless opportunities to discover and invest in contemporary art in Australia.

The Australian art market is growing steadily, and investing in modern art has become an increasingly popular option for collectors looking to diversify their portfolios. However, investing in contemporary art can be complex and often risky. Here are some tips on how to make smart purchases and build a valuable collection. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting, this guide will help you navigate Australia’s dynamic and ever-changing world of contemporary art.

Understand the Market

Before you begin investing in contemporary art, it’s essential to understand the market. The modern art market constantly evolves, and predicting which artists and works will become the most valuable can be difficult. Researching the market, following trends, and staying up-to-date with news and events related to the art world are crucial.

Attending art fairs, galleries, and exhibitions is one way to understand the market. This will help you understand what’s popular and what’s not and allow you to see works in person. Additionally, reading industry publications and following respected art experts on social media can give you valuable insights into the market.

Research Artists and Works

Before making a purchase, it’s important to research the artist and the work you’re interested in. Look for information on the artist’s background, education, and exhibition history. Consider whether the artist is emerging or established and whether they have a strong following in the art world.

Researching the work itself is also crucial. Find out when it was created, its history, and its condition. If the work has been exhibited or sold before, try to find out what it sold for and where it is now. This information can help you determine whether the work is a good investment and is a fair price.

Work with a Reputable Dealer

Working with a reputable art dealer can be invaluable when investing in contemporary art. A dealer can provide expert advice, help you navigate the market, and give you access to works that may not be available elsewhere.

When choosing a dealer, look for someone with a strong reputation and experience in the contemporary art world. Check their credentials, read reviews, and ask for references from other collectors. It’s also important to clearly understand the dealer’s fees and commission rates.

Consider Emerging Artists

While established artists can be a safer investment, emerging artists can offer more potential for growth and value appreciation. Consider investing in works by up-and-coming artists with a strong track record of exhibitions, awards, and critical acclaim.

Investing in emerging artists can be a bit riskier, as their value is less established in the market. However, if you do your research and invest in the right artists, you can reap significant rewards in the long term.


Investing in contemporary art in Australia can provide significant long-term benefits, both financial and personal. Art is a tangible asset that can increase in value over time, and owning a valuable piece of artwork can be a source of pride and enjoyment. However, investing in contemporary art should be approached with caution. The art market can be volatile and unpredictable, and there is no guarantee that a piece of artwork will increase in value over time.