Compared to leading stocks, art has been a stellar investment over the past twenty years.

Contemporary Art Investment

Since 2000, the top-end of the art market has outperformed the S&P 500 by 449% according to the ArtPrice 100 Index, with an annual average increase of 8.9%. At Mintus, we focus on Post-War and Contemporary art for our art investment offerings, but why is that?

Biggest Market, High Growth, Best Potential

The market for Post-War and Contemporary art has undergone a huge period of growth in the 21st Century. At auction in 2000, the sector accounted for only 17% of the market share by sales value. In 2021, it accounted for 55% of the value of the fine art auction market. This substantial increase is indicative of the fact that it has become by far the biggest and most active fine art market sector, and subsequently the sector with the most liquidity and best investment opportunity.

Art is of course subjective, highly personal, and generally reflective of the wider societal and demographic trends. So, it’s perhaps not surprising that works created since 1945 have produced by far the strongest returns; the ArtPrice Post-War Art Index has grown 267% since 19981.

Contemporary art reflects the latest fashions, connects with a recognisable zeitgeist, and often possesses a “wow factor” that captures collectors minds more than older periods. By definition, it’s newer and fresher to market, and it can attain cult status, making it attractive to investors. This is apparent in the prices, which have regularly found new highs following frenzied bidding at auction, and is reflected in the ArtPrice Contemporary Art Index, which has grown 358% since 19982.

The performances of both indexes are indicative of the potential profit of contemporary art investment.

Post-War? Contemporary?

Mintus focusses upon the Post-War and Contemporary sector for its art investment offerings. Post-War art refers to artists who came to prominence in the decades following the Second World War – from 1945 until around 1990 – such as Andy Warhol. Contemporary art generally refers to artists who came to prominence since 1990, such as George Condo. Whilst technically it is Post-War and Contemporary art that we are focussed on at Mintus, the sector may more generally be abbreviated to Contemporary art for ease.

Established Figures or Hot New Names?

The latest statistics from the UBS & Art Basel Art Market Report (2022) showed that whilst the majority of sales happened at the lower value end of the market, ultimately the majority of the market value sits in the upper end. Sales of $1 million and above accounted for only 1.2% of the sales volume but were responsible for 64% of the sales value.

At Mintus, we focus on blue-chip art investment. This means artists at the top-end of the market, in the $1+ million bracket. Examples of some of these artists are Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama, and Gerhard Richter. All of whom have a sustained auction track record, international collector base, and market momentum over the last two decades, marking them out as some of the best contemporary artists to invest in. Yayoi Kusama’s Paintings Price Index, for example, has multiplied over 65-fold since 20003.

This kind of historical gain illustrates what is possible with well-known names. However, lesser-known artists can offer more speculative and higher-risk contemporary art investment opportunities as they become better known. With this in mind, we are also considering offering exposure to emerging artists in the future.

  1. ArtPrice Global Indices, data correct as of 1st October 2022
  2. ArtPrice Global Indices, data correct as of 1st October 2022
  3. Yayoi Kusama Artist’s Paintings Price Index, ArtPrice, data correct as of January 2023

Ready to get started?

Register as an investor now to explore our art investment opportunities.

Sign Up
Any other questions?
Contact us.
Sign Up

Contact Us

Please fill out the form below to get in touch with us, and we'll contact you as soon as possible.

Your message has been successfully sent.
We will get back to you shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.