How and Why to Buy Art, Even if You Are Super Rich!

By John Neville Cohen


If you are one of the privileged few, who having been fortunate, now own at least two homes (one of them will be a large villa, or mansion), you have possibly paid a top architect and an interior designer, to create your palace, and your gardens are managed by specialist landscape gardeners and everything is beautiful – the rest of us can just dream on!  

But how do you then go about adding your own personal statement to your magnificent home?  This is when works of art are considered, but even here you can call on the experts too and pay an art consultant, or specialist to guide you.  But eventually there will come a time when you will want to buy and display your own choice of picture.  What then are your main options? 

Some people have chosen to buy the most expensive picture they can possibly find, simply to show off that they can afford it.  Just think of the new owner of ‘The Scream’ that was recently purchased for $119.9 million, as an example.  Was it bought because of loving it, or as an investment, or to demonstrate that the owner could afford it?  In the past so many enormously expensive contemporary pictures have never been resold, without making rather a big loss, so the investment angle seems unlikely. 

Whatever is considered great in contemporary art is subject to change; it is only great at a particular time, mainly because the amount paid says that it is!  There are only a few names that have survived the test of time; such as Picasso, or Andy Warhol, but many others eventually simply fall by the wayside. 

If you are not so inclined to simply buy the most expensive, you then have many other choices.  But the picture you choose will say something about you; so you should make sure it is one of the focal points of your home and given pride of place, as well as being something that you enjoy. 

When thinking about the value of various artists’ works, many unknowns over time can suddenly become sought after, whilst others in big demand can go out of fashion.  So the best advice is to simply follow your heart – not your head, nor the experts. 

Today you no longer need to rely on art galleries, trying to sell you what they consider are the finest ever.  With the Internet there are so many, from all over the world, art galleries to be found, allowing you to view at leisure, without having to bother with the sales pitch.  But more interestingly, there are now very original, excellent artists that now have their own sites.  Exploring and hunting Internationally is now a reality.

Beware of the experts, who make a living by convincing others that they know about art, even though they have never created anything themselves, as the art world is really such a very fickle business, mostly influenced by the amount of money paid.  They talk a lot and come up with various theories, all based on what has sold recently, mainly to maintain their own life style, but they also have no idea of what will be fashionable next.

Does it need to be an original painting, or could it be a limited edition print?  It has been said that limited edition prints are mainly for those with a lot more taste.  Today limited edition prints are highly respected, valued as highly as paintings, and often they have appreciated in value too.  So the choice is yours.

Should it be chosen simply because it is something beautiful, the right colour, something dramatic, classical, or should it be of flowers, a portrait, a scene, or an abstract?  How should you decide? 

Well really no one can tell you!  You should simply choose what attracts you and only buy what you really like, or rely on your wife, husband, or partner.  Otherwise, if you dare not back your own judgment, pay the experts, but then is what you call home really your own?


The author has been a very keen Asian antique collector for many years helping to create 'The Cohen Collection' but he is also an artist.  For much more information with lots of photographs see his limited editions of only 8 of each picture (up to 60” or 150cm longest side!) at: -


You can also be kept informed on John N. Cohen’s 'Painting with Light' Facebook Fan page




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