Seven reasons why rich people buy art
Seven reasons why you should too
This digest is brought to you by Patrons MCAA. Patrons is a full-suite art advisory and dealership firm that helps private individuals and corporate entities to diversify their wealth through art collection, appraisal, packaging & transportation, storage, insurance, maintenance, and restoration.
What kind of art would you spend it on if you were given a $1,000,000 art budget? Before you answer that, I would like you to ponder a few things.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why rich people spend so much money on art? At first glance, you may find some of these artworks not to be the prettiest of things you have laid your eyes on, nor do they evoke any emotion in you. Why then do they do it? Why do they spend on costly art?
If we had time, we could recount up to 50 reasons why rich people spend this much on art. In this digest, we will consider 7 of such reasons.
1. The pleasure of owning it
Do you remember when you wanted something, say, your dream fast car or your first house? It may have taken you some time to save up for it, and you finally got it. It must have felt so good! In your euphoria, you must have felt a great sense of personal fulfillment. Now, multiplying that feeling by a few times is quite the satisfaction rich people think when buying artwork. This feeling is a combination of a few things;
knowing that this unique piece of art is one of its kind
that a world-renowned artist made it
that it is a famous piece of work.
Read also: FG to handover repatriated artefacts to Benin Feb 19
Moreover, this art enriches their immediate environment, their homes, offices, or somewhere in between. They want places where they spend the most time to be aesthetically pleasing.
Art hanging down the walls of an office gets the creative juice flowing. It has become common practice for the rich, especially art-loving CEOs of companies, to commission a renowned artist to create art for their offices. Think back to 2005 when Mark Zuckerberg commissioned graffiti artist David Choe to paint the walls of Facebook’s first office. David Choe chose to take a chance on Facebook and opted to be paid in Facebook stocks worth over $200 million. Today, the murals are still in the Facebook – or shall we say Meta Platforms, Inc. “They carved the walls out, and they shipped them to every single Facebook office in the world, so they’re everywhere now,” Choe said.
2. It is a lifestyle
When you are rich and glamorous, art collecting becomes part of your lifestyle. Art certainly tops the must-have list when rich people shop for luxury items.
If you are rich and not so glamorous, art collecting is a gateway to becoming glamorous. It has become a status card; it is beyond just owning it; it has become more about being seen at auctions and exhibitions rubbing shoulders with celebrities, influential persons of interest, and extremely wealthy people.
3. An investment class
Looking at the trends spanning the last 50 years, art has proven to be a great investment vehicle fetching collectors record-breaking returns. In 2020, the global sales of art and antiques reached an estimated $50.1 billion.
It is essential to remember that this only applies to art on the high end if you happen to possess one of those.
For example, the Senufo female statue by the Master of the Sikasso, an anonymous artist active in Burkina Faso from the 19th to 20th centuries. It is 1 of 5 known figures of its kind, making it exceptionally rare. It was sold at Sotheby’s in 2014 at the groundbreaking price of $12m, making it the most valuable African artwork ever to be auctioned. This pioneering moment demonstrated that native art had become a significant player on the world market.
This statue also has an impressive provenance; it passed through influential African art collectors such as William Rubin, Armand Arman, and Myron Kunin. Under Myron Kunin’s estate, it appeared in Sotheby’s in 2014.
The ‘Master of Sikasso.’ Source: TheCollector
“The strikingly elongated statue of an unknown woman set a record for the most expensive auction result for an African art piece.”
4. Stored value
Art is an excellent way for investors to diversify their funds and collectors looking to store value. Granted, art can be risky if one buys without a proper advisory.
Art valuations happen pretty differently from the stock markets. Art has proven to hedge greatly against depressions and crashes. During the second world war and most recently in countries prone to experience devaluation of their currencies, collectors who invested in art before and during those times have come out on the other side with more profits than anticipated.
5. To show off
Investing in the stock market or in a startup that does well shows that you are good in finance. Buying an expensive car, a yacht, or a home, albeit practical, is something you will use. However, you choose to look at it, buying a piece of art worth, say $1m, is self-indulging. This is because art is not something anyone needs; it is something you want.
When you have money, you are more inclined to show it off. Nothing signals wealth better than a costly artwork that breaks the ice and often becomes a conversation starter for anyone when you host your friends and associates for dinners, mixers, or events alike.
6. Tax Avoidance
Tax laws favor collectors who regularly buy high-value art. In some countries, rich people buy art to avoid tax. Consider the United States; for example, if you sell a painting and put the money in the bank, you must pay capital gains tax on it. But selling one painting to put the money into another painting, now that’s a neat way around paying those taxes.
7. Pride in Culture
The love of culture is a big motivation for buying art.
You are reading this because you take pride in African culture, and art is one of many ways we express our culture. In recent decades, the collecting community has experienced a spike in the African art collections. This means that when Africans and people who identify as African become rich, it is normal for them to want to collect art from their culture.
Art Index Top 5
This week’s selection brings about yet another Art Index Africa top 5. Art Index Africa’s jury traveled around Africa to curate and feature artworks by artists from different countries.
With every week’s digest, Art Index Africa’s jury brings you a showdown of the top 5 well-researched and curated art pieces every collector should want to purchase, based on solid technique, message, style, and medium.
Here are our picks for this week:
Artist: Nathalie Kassi Djakou | Title: No Domestic Violence | Country: Cameroon | Medium: Polished Clay | Size: 35cm x 330cm | Year: 2018 | Estimate: On request
“Say no to violence! This artwork represents a woman in pain, profusely crying after being violently abused. This work speaks against all kinds of abuses that women face.”
Artist: Kofi Agorsor | Title: No Discrimination | Country: Ghana | Medium: Neem, Ebody, and Paint on Wood | Size: H:48cm, W:59cm | Year: 2011 | Estimate: On request
“Colors. Black and white complement each other perfectly, but in humanity, it is a tug of war. We treat people differently because of the color of their skin, and that is prejudice. Irrespective of color, there is good and bad in all humans. Color should not be how we tell what is good or bad. That in itself is bad judgment and is discrimination.”
Artist: Midy | Title: Back to Roots | Country: Benin Republic | Medium: Mixed Media | Size: 120cm x 190cm | Year: 2009 – 2021 | Estimate: $9,450
“I first started working on this piece in 2009. I abandoned it after a while, leaving it unfinished. This month of October is my BIRTHDAY, and I had the urge to go back and finish what I started 12 years ago. The result? BACK TO ROOTS.”
Artist: Ugo Ahiakwo | Title: Industrial Carcass: Orchestrations 1 | Country: Nigeria | Medium: Car Lacquer on Wood | Size: 88.25” x 0.75” x 1.25” | Year: 2020 | Estimate: $2,770
“The Industrial Carcass series was borne from a place of empathy for scrap metal intended for construction work but was ultimately abandoned and deemed useless. Over time that “empathy” also extended to other building materials like the wood used in this piece. Feeling a connection to the materials I work with and their yearning to be elevated, I sought to do them justice. My process is primarily driven by respect for the materials and ongoing negotiation.
This piece was also created in a time of political unrest in my home country, Nigeria. The #ENDSARS protests were ongoing, and COVID-19 was still very rampant. Creating this piece and the entirety of the Industrial Carcass series was therapy and refuge of some sort for me.”
Artist: Peter Okotor | Title: Table of Paradox | Country: Nigeria | Medium: Repurposed record players, reconstructed album covers, sound, QR code technology | Year: 2020/1 | Estimate: $2,770
“An introspective look into the history of Nigeria since its attainment of self-rule. It metaphorically unravels her historic past embodied by hopefulness and freedom from dependent rule expressed in the modern-day.
The artistic production process adopts juxtaposition of archival materials, sounds, and digital technology to highlight personal stories and how they contribute to the practice of memory and historical recalls.”
We have learned seven common reasons why the decadent splurge on expensive art in this digest. Consider them as seven reasons why you should too.
To ask again, if you were given a $1,000,000 art budget, what kind of art would you spend it on?
Until the next digest,
Keep the masks on. 😷