Artworks are more than just pretty images that adorn your walls and complement interior décor. Carefully selected, valuable artworks may form part of your estate. If you’ve inherited or bought a quality piece, you can also use it as collateral to secure an asset-based, short-term loan.
Profits from their sale of artwork are not subject to capital gains tax, making works of art a smart long-term investment.
Consider some of the prices works by the world’s greatest artists have sold for internationally.
The most valuable artworks ever sold include:
- Paul Gauguin’s painting of two Tahitian women, titled Nafea Faa Ipoipo? (When Will You Marry?), was bought from a Swiss private collection for $300 million by a buyer in Qatar in February 2015.
- Jackson Pollock’s classic drip painting, 5, 1948, sold for about $140 million in a deal brokered by Sotheby’s.
- Woman III, by abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, was sold from the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art Collection to billionaire collector Steven A. Cohen for $137.5 million in 2006. Today, it is said to be worth $159.8 million.
The highest-value privately owned artworks include those bought in recent years by wealthy collectors, such as:
- Portrait of Jan Six, one of the most important pieces from the Dutch Golden Era, by Rembrandt van Rijn, which is estimated to be worth $180 to 250 million.
- Les Femmes d’Alger, by the famed Spanish Cubist artist Pablo Picasso. The fourth-most expensive painting of all time was bought for a record high of $179 million in May 2015 in a tense bid overseen by xx Christie’s that took a mere eleven and a half minutes.
- Three studies of Lucien Freud, a six-foot triptych painted by Francis Bacon in 1969, which sold for $142.4 million after frantic bidding at a 2013 auction at Christie’s.
South African art
Art has long been valued globally, but what about in South Africa? Professional commentators are optimistic about the art market here, noting how the value of unique, quality artworks has steadily increased, year on year, since the end of apartheid in the 1990s.
Recent years have also seen the overseas market turn their attention to African art, with exhibitions, auctions and collectives to showcase African art talent to the world. In 2014, for instance, Sotheby’s in France made a record $30.9 million for African and Oceanic artworks.
High-profile African art sales include the rare Cote d’Ivoirian Senufo Female Statue, sold for $12 million at Sotheby’s New York in November 2014; South African artist Irma Stern’s Bahora Girl, which sold for $3.59 million on Bonhams, London, in 2010; and Self-portrait (1947) by the pioneer of black South African art, Gerard Sekoto, which went for about $178,676 in 2006.
What makes a work of art valuable?
To the untrained eye, it’s hard to estimate the worth of an artwork. Researching the market helps. Visit museums, read up on art history and keep an eye on auction sales, market fluctuations and artists to get savvy about the art world.
Things to consider when estimating the value of a piece include the following:
- ARTIST REPUTATION: An artist with an established and revered body of work is a surer bet. Solid South African names include William Kentridge, Dylan Lewis, Walter Battis, Maggie Laubser, Lionel Smit and Irma Stern, and newer artists being taken seriously include Athi Patra-Ruga, Georgina Gratrix, Kemang Wa Lehulere and Nandipha Mntambo.
- TANGIBLE FACTORS: Including the size, medium and subject matter of the artwork, as well as its quality.
- DEMAND: Interest in a genre, medium and artist fluctuates, so the timing of an artwork’s evaluation is important. Consider, for instance, how works by South African artists Larry Scully and Vladimir Grigoryevich Tretchikoff have become more sought after in recent years. Collectors need to stay alert to the fashions of the market.
When it comes to art as investment, it’s often best to call on the experts. A professional art evaluator can properly appraise your artwork to establish it’s true value.
If you have artwork you think may be valuable and want to use it to secure a short-term loan, contact us at Lamna on 086 111 2866 or simply complete our online application form.
Client borrows R10,000 for 90 days.
Total Cost of Loan
Fixed rates range from 36% to 60% APR and payment options range from minimum 3 to maximum 24 months. Apart from the initiation and monthly fees shown below, the only additional fee is credit life insurance if the borrower does not have this already.