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Investing in 19th and 20th-century Art Pieces: Strategies and Insights

Nikkan Navidi

Investing in 19th and 20th-century Art Pieces: Strategies and Insights

Art investment offers a unique opportunity to preserve cultural heritage while also seeking financial gains. Traditional art pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries hold particular appeal due to their historical significance and potential value appreciation. There are several avenues through which collectors and investors can acquire these artworks, each with its own set of benefits and considerations. Additionally, the decision to invest in emerging artists versus established blue-chip art involves a complex balance of risk and reward.

Investment potential of 19th & 20th Century Art

Historical Significance and Collector Appeal

The 19th century was a time of great innovation in art, with movements ranging from Realism and Romanticism to the nascent stages of Impressionism and Modernism. Artists of this era, such as Delacroix, Courbet, and Corot, pushed the boundaries of artistic expression, paving the way for the modern movements that would follow. Their works capture a transformative period in history, marked by revolutions, the rise of industrialism, and significant cultural shifts. This rich historical context not only enhances the cultural value of 19th-century artworks but also deepens their appeal to collectors who are drawn to art with a strong narrative quality.

Investment Potential of 19th-Century Art

From an investment perspective, 19th-century art is particularly compelling due to its relative undervaluation in the market. Despite the critical roles these artists played in shaping the direction of Western art, their works are often available at prices that are more accessible than those of their more famous successors like the Impressionists. For example, while a painting by Monet can sell for millions, influential precursors like Jongkind, who directly influenced Monet, can be acquired for much more reasonable sums. This pricing discrepancy highlights a significant opportunity for growth, as the market gradually corrects these imbalances in recognition and value. Art Most, an industry expert when it comes to investing in appreciating art pieces, has successfully exited numerous 19th and 20th-century works:

What Draws Collectors to 19th-Century Art

Collectors are increasingly drawn to 19th-century art due to its pioneering spirit and the opportunity it presents to acquire significant works at lower entry points. The period's artists were instrumental in developing key concepts and techniques that would define future artistic movements. Their experimentation with light, colour, and subject matter represented a departure from the more rigid practices of earlier periods, making their works not only historically important but also visually and thematically engaging. Additionally, the growing recognition of these artists in recent exhibitions and art historical discourse is likely to enhance the value of their works, making them attractive prospects for both new and seasoned collectors.

Methods of Acquiring Traditional Art

Galleries and Auctions for Art Investments

Art galleries and auctions represent the most established venues for acquiring 19th and 20th-century art. Galleries often represent a mix of historical and contemporary artists, offering collectors a vetted selection of works. Auction houses like Sothebyโ€™s and Christieโ€™s also provide a platform for purchasing rare and sought-after works, often setting the trends in art valuation.

Buying Art Through Private Dealers

Private dealers offer a more personalized approach to buying art, often specializing in a particular genre or period. These experts can provide bespoke advice and access to exclusive pieces that aren't available in public galleries or auctions. Working with a private dealer allows investors to build relationships that can lead to first dibs on highly coveted art as it becomes available.

Investing through Art Funds

Art funds offer a collective investment model for those interested in the art market. By pooling resources, investors can engage with the art world through a managed portfolio without owning specific artworks directly. These funds are handled by experienced professionals who apply strategic insights to purchase, manage, and eventually sell art pieces. This arrangement allows participants to gain exposure to the lucrative art market's potential returns while mitigating individual risks. However, while they offer diversified access to high-value artworks, balancing investment growth with expert risk management, the barrier to entry into those funds can be very significant and sometimes compared to that of hedge funds with minimum buy-ins reaching between โ‚ฌ500,000-โ‚ฌ1,000,000.

Investing in Art starting from โ‚ฌ250

While art funds provide an effective gateway to the art market's opportunities, the high barrier to entry can limit access to only the most affluent investors. Konvi innovatively addresses this challenge by offering a more accessible entry point into the art investment world. By requiring a significantly lower initial investment of just โ‚ฌ250, Konvi opens the door to a broader demographic of art enthusiasts and investors. Leveraging professional networks of buyers and sellers traditionally utilized by larger art funds, Konvi connects investors with established and experienced industry experts.

This approach ensures that even small-scale investors can benefit from expert curation and strategic market insights, traditionally reserved for high-net-worth individuals. Through Konvi, investors enjoy the advantages of collective buying power and professional management, making it easier and more affordable to diversify their portfolios with valuable art pieces. In our most recent collaboration with our renowned expert for 19th and 20th-century artworks, Art Most, we have launched โ€œImperial Art Pieceโ€. After the funding period has ended Art Most will curate an art piece that offers the highest investment potential in the current market.

Investing in Emerging Artists vs. Established Blue-Chip Art

Emerging Artists

Investing in emerging artists carries a higher risk but potentially higher rewards. These artists, often at the beginning stages of their careers, may not yet have established a reputation in the art world. However, purchasing their work can be a strategic move for those looking to support new talent with the potential for significant appreciation in value. For instance, an early investment in artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat or Frida Kahlo before they achieved widespread fame could have yielded immense returns.

The primary challenge with investing in emerging artists lies in the difficulty of predicting success. Many emerging artists may never reach the status where their works significantly appreciate in value. Therefore, this investment route requires thorough research, keen insight, and sometimes, an element of luck.

Established Blue-Chip Art

Conversely, investing in established blue-chip artists is generally considered safer. These artists have a proven track record of demand and stable or increasing value over time. Works by artists such as Claude Monet or Vincent van Gogh, for instance, are likely to be more resilient to market fluctuations due to their historical significance and enduring demand.

The drawback to blue-chip investments is their high entry price. Acquiring pieces from renowned artists requires a significant upfront investment, which might not be accessible to all collectors. Additionally, while the risk of depreciation is lower, the growth in value might not be as rapid or as high as it could be with a successful emerging artist.

Balancing Risk and Reward

The key to successful art investment lies in diversification and a balanced portfolio. Just as with financial investments, combining high-risk and low-risk art assets can mitigate potential losses while maximizing potential gains. For those looking to explore the vibrant field of art investment, incorporating both emerging and established artists can offer a rewarding strategy that balances potential risks and rewards.


Investing in art from the 19th and 20th centuries, whether through galleries, auctions, private dealers, or directly from artists, presents various pathways to enrich oneโ€™s investment portfolio. Each method offers unique advantages and caters to different investment strategies and preferences. By carefully considering the risk associated with emerging artists versus the stability of blue-chip art, investors can make informed decisions that align with their financial goals and passion for art. As the market continues to evolve, staying informed and responsive to changes in art trends and market dynamics will be crucial for success.

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