Some Ideas About Investing in Abstract Art

Some Ideas About Investing in Abstract Art – Part 1 of 3
Research On Intrinsic Value Of Abstract Art
Yesterday I saw a research article, that tended to show what many folks already know instinctively: that expensive abstract art for sale is like The Caesar’s New Clothes (Kejserens nye Klæder).
The Caesar’s New Clothes
In case you don’t already know the story, I’ll thumbnail it here, for you, so that you will, afterward, be able to compare any abstract artist to the “weavers” in the story. The tale is about a Caesar, who was a fop, a dude, a “clothes horse” – in other words, he was obsessed with showing off a different set of clothing every hour or so. 2 swindlers came to town, and spread about the rumour, that they were weavers, of magical cloth. The cloth, they claimed, could be seen only by worthy folks, but it turned invisible, to the unworthy, and the stupid. Throughout the weaving process, nobody could see the thread, nor the cloth, for there was none there.

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All Pretended
Yet nobody wanted to admit that he could not see them, so they pretended to see the thread and the cloth. By and by, the Caesar went on parade, thinking that he was wearing a suit of new clothes, yet he could not see them, and he would not admit it. Of course nobody in the crowd could see them either, because there was actually nothing there.
The Weavers Were Brought To Light
It was a scam. Everybody thought that they themselves were too unworthy or stupid to see the clothing, and they were too embarrassed to admit it, so they kept shut their mouths. Finally a young child said, “The Caesar has no clothes on”, and at that time all realized that they had been scammed.
The Abstract Art World Is Different
However, in the world of abstract art, when an honest voice decries the alleged special-ness of it, few seem to take heed. Those, with the leverage to promote art, take sides with the investors.
How The Research Was Done
The research project quizzed 50,000 folks online. It was a test, to tell the celebrated abstract paintings from the ones made by the man, who designed the test. 6 images were of celebrated abstract art, and 6 were inventions of the tester. The conclusion, of the tester, was that it was the publicity, or celebration, of the artist, or the work, that caused the perceived increase in value. The tester concluded, after analyzing the results, that there was no intrinsic difference in quality, between the celebrated art and his own productions. If you want to find a report, of the research, online, then you might use the searching terms, “mikhail simkin” and “a scientific inquiry into modern art”. It is, by no means, a conclusive test, yet an intelligent analysis suggests a near-random result. That means, it was as if the quiz-takers were only guessing, most of the time, and that much of the time they knew the answer, because they had seen the celebrated art before.
Maybe The Researcher Was A Great Artist
One weakness, in the test, that I noticed was, perhaps the tester himself is an uncelebrated, yet great, abstract artist! Maybe he gave, to himself, too little credit?
Goal Of Our Investment Strategy
How can we apply these thoughts, on abstract art, above, to our investment strategy for abstract art? How are we going to know, early in the game, while their works are still relatively cheap, which artists’ works will end up in the most celebrated museums, the most famous abstract art galleries, and in the most high-dollar art auctions? Which abstract artists will produce artworks that will become famous abstract art?

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Ignore The Art
I would say, just ignore the art itself, and look at the “career mindedness” of the artist. How vigorously are they going to promote themselves? Are they busy about promoting themselves? How many years have they been at it, without quitting? How often do they get their work shown? See whether there is an upward trend, in the value or power of the galleries, and the media, that favor that particular artist.
Scholarships, Mentors, And Institutions
Check to see if they have gotten any awards or scholarships during their school years. If they have, it is a foreboding of further favor from “the authorities”. All the above is for artists who have not yet gotten major recognition, so that their works may be truly cheap, still. At the next level, of expensiveness, has the artist been taken “under the wing” of any celebrated artist already? Has any powerful newspaper, magazine, or television news show shown any interest in them? Has any noteworthy institution requested their art, for display?

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