Which Contemporary Artist is Best to Buy and Most Likely to Increase in Value?

Considering buying a picture by a Contemporary artist and you want a far less expensive work than a Picasso, or an Andy Warholl, but let us admit you also want it to be a good investment. You really are hoping that your chosen artist might well be discovered big time and suddenly be worth many more times what you paid and preferably sooner than later! So what should you be looking for?

In times when currencies are at risk and the stock market fails to do well, the chances of success(by choosing the right artist) are far better than those with the Lottery!

By being careful about what you buy and in choosing the right artist, although there is always an element of risk, the chances of losing any value are minimal.

Whilst I am not making any claims to be any kind of expert, I have been a keen successful collector for many years of various art forms and antiques that have mostly increased greatly in value. I do hope that by sharing with you my instincts that these will prove to be of some help to you. Obviously, just in case the picture you end up choosing, doesn’t jump up tremendously in value, it is most important that you really like your choice, so that at least you will enjoy living with it.

Your choice of picture says something about you, so what sort of picture should you look for? Here are a couple of my suggestions of how to begin the selection process: –

  • Firstly look for something artistic that you find attractive and beautiful, preferably a picture you feel sure your friends will admire and comment on.
  • It is best to choose an inspiring picture, that makes a statement, or that has something fascinating about it.
  • Then do some research on the artist.

Be very wary of all the hype, art critics and so-called experts who claim to know everything. These days you can search on the Internet and no longer be restricted to the local Galleries, you can search and find art from all over the world without leaving home. This means you can view the pictures you like and avoid all the sales talk. But how should you consider your choice of artist, if you want to have the best chance of your artist becoming suddenly famous and priceless? To have any such chance of succeeding your artist: –

  • Needs to have developed a recognisable different style, or show exceptional original creativity.
  • Should have already created a reasonable number of works that demonstrate a consistent style and originality.
  • Should already have received some recognition, from having held several important one-man exhibitions and received already some worthwhile press, or write-ups.

In the past the artists that eventually become the most sought after, are those that created their own style, where they were the first to do something original, or different, and they made use of it consistently to best advantage. Some sadly, would also add choose someone old, rather than young, as so often artworks tend to be far more appreciated soon after the artist has died.

Of the painters, at the moment I am favouring Sir Bernard Fleetwood Walker R.A. because he has a style of his own that has not yet been fully appreciated. My personal view is Sir William Russell Flint R.A. painted wonderful watercolours and although they are already highly valued, I still think they will continue to increase in value.

I am not aware of any really great changes in painting that are sure of success. There are some who make use of spray paints and I have seen a few unusual textures where cement and sand have been used mixed with the paints. There are pictures created in three dimensions by layering cut out prints, stuck closely on top of each other, there are small boxed frames filled with carefully chosen objects as pictures, there are paintings embellished with Swarovski crystals, or small mirrors and other materials, also there have been mixed media pictures making use of all sorts of materials to form an image. But although different, I do not see many of these as ever being considered as great art works, it is really a matter of hunting for only the most exceptional examples, if any of these techniques appeal to you.

But the most dramatic and exciting changes have been with photography! Photography is now a valued art form, as are limited edition prints (providing the edition number is not too large – should be well under 50). So what is new?

Thanks to digital imaging there are now computer-generated pictures, such as ‘fractals’. But as the computer made them, rather than the artist, I doubt that they will ever be highly valued. With computer manipulation, mixed blended images that were never possible before, can now be created, these artists should be studied.

I have seen some graffiti light painting pictures that are rather different. The new computer HDR(high dynamic range) images that provide a much greater range of definition at different light intensity levels are also impressive and can be very atmospheric (far more so than ever before).

But what matters most is the end result; it is the picture that counts, the artistic vision is so much more important than the technique.

Having said that, certain photographic pictures could only be achieved because of the technique. As an example, there is a unique technique that involves photographing projected images that have been projected on to other objects. This has successfully been used to create some very interesting and quite different pictures.

I believe that if you follow my guidelines, you will find pictures worth buying that really could prove to be a great investment.

Good Luck with your hunt, hoping you enjoy the search and that you do find a winner.

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 seehis 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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