It’s time for a pop quiz! Ready?
Which artists created the five most expensive paintings ever sold?
To get things started, I’ll give you a hint:
The artist in the No. 1 spot painted the world-famous Mona Lisa.
Think you know who it is? Are you sure?
Today, I’ll reveal the correct answer.
Then I’ll tell you who’s in spots 2 through 5…
And I’ll explain why investing in art might help you beat the market — even if you’re starting with as little as $20.
The Five Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold
The top-five most expensive paintings were created by five different artists.
The artist in the No. 1 spot painted the world-famous Mona Lisa. But he also created Salvator Mundi which sold for — wait for it — $450 million. Wow, nearly half-a-billion dollars.
Who created it? Leonardo da Vinci!
The other four artists are Paul Gauguin, Andy Warhol, Paul Cézanne, and Willem de Kooning.
Here’s the list of the top-five most expensive paintings:
Hundreds of millions of dollars for single pieces of art?
Might make you wonder:
“What’s going on here… And how can I get in on the action?”
The Greatest Store of Wealth
In volatile and scary markets like we’re experiencing today, the wealthy have always found ways to protect and grow their wealth.
For example, they invest in luxury apartments in New York or London, or in bars of gold.
But recently, they’ve been turning to something new: art.
The CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, calls art “one of the greatest stores of international wealth.”
BlackRock has about $10 trillion in assets under management. So when its CEO makes a claim, it pays to listen!
Three Reasons the Wealthy Invest in Art
There are many reasons that art can be such a powerful investment.
For starters, it provides diversification. So even if the stock market keeps crashing like it’s been doing recently, art can keep growing in value.
Furthermore, art offers a hedge against inflation. In inflationary times like we’re in today, that’s a valuable trick.
But perhaps most important of all, art can provide market-beating returns.
For example, since 1995, one popular art index has outperformed the broad-based S&P 500 by nearly 3x.
And meanwhile, art from “newcomers” like Banksy has offered returns that crush the market.
Perhaps these benefits help explain why, according to the Knight Frank Global Wealth Report, 37% of individuals worth at least $30 million collect or own fine art.
But now, art isn’t just for the super wealthy anymore…
Masterworks is an online platform for art investment.
It aims to make blue-chip artwork investable for everyone.
The way it does so is through fractional investments. For example, even if a piece of art is selling for millions of dollars, you can buy a small fraction of it.
In many cases, minimums are just $100, and sometimes they’re as low as just $20.
Furthermore, you can sell your fractional shares to other investors through Masterworks’ secondary market. Certainly, there are no guarantees that someone will buy your shares. But as the platform grows in popularity, it’s likely that liquidity will grow.
As they say, past performance is no guarantee for future results. That said, Masterworks has a track record of winning performance. For example:
- A painting it offered by George Condo earned an annualized net return of 21.5%.
- A painting it offered by Cecily Brown earned an annualized net return of 27.4%.
- And a painting it offered by Banksy earned an annualized net return of 32%.
Its current offerings include a piece by Helen Frankenthaler:
Frankenthaler was born in 1928. In 1952, she developed her “soak-stain” technique, where thinned oil paint was poured directly onto an unprimed canvas to create large fields of color.
It’s also offering a piece by Bridget Riley:
Bridget Riley was born in England in 1931. Her work focuses on colorful geometric abstractions, also referred to as “Op Art.” In 1965, Riley’s work was included in “The Responsive Eye,” a group exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. That exhibition formalized Op Art as a major artistic movement and cemented Riley’s status as a leading figure of it.
Get Started Today
As noted earlier, with Masterworks, you don’t need millions of dollars to get started. You can often invest with as little as $20.
Keep in mind, all the typical caveats about investing apply here:
For example, don’t invest more than you can afford to lose; invest in what you know; and be sure to dip your toe into the water before diving in.
Furthermore, despite Masterworks' secondary market, its art may not be entirely “liquid.” That means these investments can’t necessarily be converted into cash at the snap of your fingers.
So don’t invest your rent or grocery money here.
But if you’re looking to invest like the rich, art can be a great place to start!
Please note: Crowdability has no relationship with any of the startups or investment platforms we write about. We’re an independent provider of education and research on startups and alternative investments.