Aboriginal Art – Investment Information
Australian Aboriginal Art has experienced an exceptional increase in popularity over recent years and it’s not just limited to within the home-country. Internationally the art form is recognized as very unique form of art, it is admired overseas and respected by art critics worldwide. Of late, it has also sprung to the attention of not only art investors but also to the wider audience, as wise buyers realize its high potential in the marketplace. As international attention increases and art critics express their respect for Aboriginal works, all kinds of collectors and potential buyers are becoming aware of the solidness of this investment. This art form is described by renowned art critic Robert Hughes as “the world’s last great art movement.”Whilst steeped in what was originally viewed as ethnographic historics, the works produced are very often amazingly modern in design and colour and therefore aesthetically pleasing.
Aboriginal Art is currently seen as the trendiest art scene in Australia, by fat outselling any other type of non-indigenous art and accounting for around 60 percent display rate in renowned Australian Art Galleries. As sales via the major Auction Houses in Australian capital cities will confirm, Aboriginal art is a best seller. As the world is awakening to the unique beauty of Aboriginal Art, prices augment radically. Now it would be a very good time to invest, as prices are considerably rising, and wise investment will definitely guarantee excellent returns.
It is wise to always cautiously investigate before investing in any product and art is no different. Search in reference books, the internet, magazines, Australian public galleries and catalogues from companies like Christie’s and Sotheby’s that arrange auctions of Australian Aboriginal Art. It’s of importance to get acquainted with the artist’s reputation, his community, his productivity and the quality of his work.
Aboriginal art can be a wise investment for the future but one must choose wisely. Works formed by well-known and respected artists has considerably grown in market value considerably over the past few years and can achieve a substantial return if prudently selected. $1,073.600 for Emily Kame Kngwarrey’s “Earth’s Creation” in May 2007 was a couple of months later followed up by a impressive $2.4 million for Clifford Possum Tjapaljarri’s masterpiece “Warlugulong”, auctioned by Sotheby’s to the National Gallery of Australia.
Traditional Aboriginal Art varies widely across Australia making it easy for art investors to assemble a diverse collection. Although the expression of identity and dreams are universal themes within Australian Indigenous Art, designs, materials, prints, and colours wildly differ according to the community an artist belongs to. The desert artists in the main use acrylic medium, in a myriad of colours and techniques. In other areas such as the Kimberley in Western Australia and Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, natural ochre pigment is used. In this regard, investors should be familiar with the communities and regions where the artists reside, and therefore the style of artwork produced. These are unique and individual Artworks created by members of the oldest indigenous culture in the world. As an investor in or a collector of Australian Art, you are assisting in the building of Australian culture and you participate in the world’s oldest continuous cultural tradition.
An investor should thoroughly research the provenance of a work of art. Written documented provenance is paramount. This is normally via a Certificate of Authenticity provided by the seller, guaranteeing that the work is by the stated artist. Further details such as information on the story of the painting, a biography of the artist including their Collections and Exhibitions, the title of the painting, and other achievements normally come with a purchase from a trustworthy seller. Just providing images of the artist executing the artwork and holding the completed work will not prove authenticity, however they are of immense interest and again, the best suppliers of artworks will provide these photographs where it is possible. Reputable sellers will provide a Certificate of Authenticity which is of key importance, sellers often work closely together with the Aboriginal communities and the participating galleries and they should have no problem providing this.
Although the age of the artist is generally of no importance to the value of an artwork, investors have to understand the importance of social hierarchy within the structure of Aboriginal communities. Every member of an Aboriginal society is viewed and respected in regard to his age, status, achievements and who his tribal elders were. All of these aspects, including an artist’s track record and popularity should be taken into account by any investor who obtains to achieve an extensive and diverse portfolio of Australian Aboriginal artworks.
There are various possibilities in order to purchase. It’s of crucial importance that you trust the seller of the artwork in regard to the painting’s provenance before the purchase can proceed. A Seller will most likely be a gallery or an individual art dealer, in either case it is important to meet these people in person and check their references, selling approach and credentials. When purchasing on line, ensure there is a non-conditional money back guarantee if the artwork is not suitable for your needs or does not meet your expectations.
Purchasing directly from the Aboriginal communities might seem to be a good option but does not necessarily guarantee the artwork’s authenticity. Keep in mind, the Aboriginal Artworks that have achieved highest prices through major auctions have not been obtained at art centres and provenance from a reputable dealer or gallery is also highly regarded. Here we have possibly the most important consideration of authenticity – the known association of the original purchaser of the artwork with the artist. Be aware of this scenario when assessing the value of works by well-known artists such as Emily Kngwarreye, Rover Thomas, Minnie Pwerle, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjari and Jack Britten.
One of the first considerations you need to do when choosing a painting is that you actually like the painting – you are going to have it on your wall – it should give pleasure to you. It is very fulfilling to invest in a work of art that you genuinely appreciate, especially after all the time and effort spent to learn about the roots and career of a certain Aboriginal Artist. Rule of thumb is not to purchase your art quickly – enjoy the research and the knowledge of the artist you have gleaned from your trusted suppliers. In this way, collecting is not merely an investment – it is also a very personal and exhilarating and rewarding experience. Also research the careers of the European Masters – compare them with the Aboriginal artists. See which period of the artist’s career has produced the best and most sought after works. For instance, if one takes a look at an artist such as Van Gogh, ‘The Starry Night’ or ’Sunflowers’ raises far higher prices than many of his other paintings.
Once you are happy that you have found suppliers in whom you have faith, your personal favourite artists, their potential or past achievements such as works hanging in eminent and distinguished art galleries, museums or art collections, then you can be sure you have done your absolute best and you are ready to embark on a successful and rewarding project. Unique, resourceful, intense, and colourful Australian Aboriginal Art can be a magnificent investment that allows you to share and experience the stories and the worldview and of the Australian Indigenous communities. Check online today for a specialist gallery with Aboriginal Paintings, artwork and artefacts on display. You will find an absolute mountain of information, and an incredibly comprehensive inventory of art from which to choose.
About the Author
Michiel van Kets provides article services for Scott Linklater, one of four family members who make up the team from Artlandish Aboriginal Art gallery in Kununurra Western Australia. For information on Australian Aboriginal art and paintings visit the website.
Aboriginal Art Museum Utrecht
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