Wondering how to invest in art like the richest man in the world? Take a look at the case of Jean Paul Getty. Thought to be the first ever billionaire, and at one time rumoured to be the richest man in the world, Getty was also a prolific art collector.
The oil tycoon made numerous investments, helping him to further grow his incredible wealth. In 1965, Getty shared tips on how to invest in art and other assets in the book ‘How To Be Rich’, born out of a series of columns originally written for Playboy magazine. Below, we have considered some of his advice in further detail.
“Get-rich-quick schemes don’t work,” Getty explains. “If they did, everyone on the face of the earth would be a millionaire.”
Getty was a big value investor, meaning that he tended to buy stocks at a low price with the potential to surge in value. For instance, when stock markets plunged on 28th May 1962 – also known as Black Monday – Getty bought many stocks as a long-term investment. This didn’t turn a quick profit, but benefitted him when the share prices rose again over time.
With careful research, Getty argued that investors can identify and invest in stocks which are currently undervalued, and then enjoy the potential rewards once prices have risen.
Applying this logic to the art investment market, works by emerging artists can offer similar potential for huge value growth. Just consider those early works by Basquiat and Warhol which were once bought for thousands of dollars, only to be resold for millions once their significance was realised.
In a similar light, the Getty collection includes two works by acclaimed fine art photographer Tony Kelly, one of Maddox Gallery’s talented roster of artists. In 2016 alone, the value of these works increased by 70% due to the level of demand.
If you are wondering how to invest in art for potential value growth over the long term, Maddox Gallery’s team of expert Sotheby’s-trained art consultants offer advice to gallery visitors regarding the talented emerging artists we represent.
Getty was of the belief that to be successful, investors needed a ‘millionaire mentality.’
“In short, the millionaire mentality is one that is always and above all cost-conscious and profit-minded,” he explained.
In other words, investors should be focused on the details of their purchases. For those who choose to invest in art, this may include ensuring that every piece comes with a certificate of authenticity, in order to ensure its resale potential at some point in the future.
Never buy a share until you fully understand its business, advised Getty. “The big profits go to the intelligent, careful and patient investor, not to the reckless and overeager speculator.”
Similarly, it makes sense that art investors should learn about an artist before purchasing their work. Artists can see their value rise as a result of many factors, including celebrity collectors, collaborations with brands, representation by a major gallery and more.
Collectors can get a better sense of an artist by visiting galleries that show their work, following them on social channels and in the media, and speaking with expert art curators and industry professionals.
Getty’s art collection was so colossal that the Getty Center museum was opened in his name, and is now split across two sites in Los Angeles.
“It remains an undeniable fact that fine art is a fine investment. The dollars-and-cents values of paintings, sculpture, tapestries, fine antique furniture and virtually all forms of art have shown a tendency to rise – and even soar – over the years,” he explained.
While Getty had a near limitless budget for his art investments, he stressed that collectors did not necessarily need this level of wealth to start an art collection.
If you’re wondering how to invest in art on a more modest budget, we would advise purchasing works by emerging artists whose stars are still rising.
Ultimately, Getty recommended that collectors should like the artwork they buy, and choose pieces that they genuinely enjoy. He found real pleasure and interest in collecting, and believed that this should be the case for other art investors too.
Here at Maddox Gallery, we couldn’t agree more. We encourage our visitors to invest in art with their eyes, and find works which speak to them as well as offering strong potential growth.
Do contact us as we will be pleased to assist you in any way we can.
Written by James Nicholls, Managing Director and Curator, Maddox Gallery