Art Investments


Canadian Art is a Good Investment

Canadians as a whole are a modest bunch. We often undervalue the accomplishments and achievements of our fellow Canadians until they make it big elsewhere – usually the United States.

However, Canadian art is overcoming this stereotype. A renewed sense of Canadian identity is making for a robust and dynamic market. Approximately $350 to $400 million is spent annually on Canadian art.

Some prominent Canadian artists such as the Group of Seven have become household names and are fetching astronomical prices at auction. It is not uncommon to hear of individual paintings selling for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.Portland Street

And while few of us will ever be in a position to own an original Lawren Harris or Tom Thomson, there are many talented Canadian artists whose works are still within range of the average art collector.

For collectors looking for a good investment, second tier Canadian artists are a good place to start. These are artists who are well known but the price of their paintings have not yet jumped into the stratosphere.

Many contemporary artists in Canada are gaining national and international recognition. These artists are leaving their mark on the Canadian art identity and are an excellent option for art collectors looking for excellent value.

Aboriginal and Inuit art is an exciting sub-genre of Canadian art that is rapidly becoming sought after by Canadian and international collectors. Norval Morrisseau and other members of the “Woodland Group of Seven” have created an innovative and distinctive style that is rapidly increasing in value but still affordable.

Canadian art is an exciting field. Many Canadian artists have received international recognition and are fetching prices to go with that recognition. Newer Canadian artists are following in their footsteps. There has never been a better time to invest in Canadian art.

Overview of the past 3 year’s activity in the Canadian art market.

According to the 2005 Canadian Art Sales Index, Canada’s principal resource guide for Canadian art prices, the top 100 Canadian Artist show a range between $27,500 for a painting by Frederic Bell Smith and $4.6 million for a painting by Paul Kane.

The Index (in its 28th year) provides all the prices, from $100 up, at auction houses from Saint John to Victoria, New York to Los Angeles, London, Paris, Zurich, and beyond.

2005 Auction Sales …over $39 million

Total Canadian art sales were a phenomenal $39.9 million, up 17 % or almost $6 million over the previous year! No less than 68 paintings sold for more then $100,000 and artists’ records were set throughout the year. Not surprisingly, the season also brought a new average price per painting sold of $7956, up almost 12% over the previous year, a clear sign that the market is prepared to pay for quality Canadian artists. The new record high annual turnover also gave the Canadian art market its ninth consecutive annual gain.

2006 Auction Sales…over $50 million

In 2006, the Canadian art market posted its 10th consecutive annual gain.

Canadian art sales rocketed in 2006 to $50.8 million, with auction sales up an astonishing 27 % or almost $11 million over the previous exceptional year. The numbers in every quarter were astounding:

  • 91 paintings sold for $100,000 or more
  • the average price per painting sold jumped almost 18% to $9666: and
  • the average annual rate of return on investment over the previous ten years was a more-than-impressive 16% plus.

2007 Auction Sales…$65 million

In 2007, Canadian art jumped 30% to $65million in auction sales as records fell all over the board and as collectors and investors pushed the market to its 11th consecutive annual gain! Another record-shattering year!

Canadian art is now firmly established itself as a good investment. This is a good time to re-evaluate your interest in art. An investment in quality art is stable and financially rewarding.

Canadian art sales at auction indicate an average annual increase above 20 % over the past 10 years. And while the average price per painting sold at auction now sits at a record $13,132, collectors should not despair as 78% of the market is still for paintings selling under $5000.

What effect has this record-setting year had on the works in your fine art portfolio?

With several sectors of the market showing strong gains it is likely the value of your collection has improved, perhaps significantly.

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