Australian Aboriginal art has seen an unprecedented increase in popularity over recent years and this is not restricted to its native country. Internationally recognized as a unique form of art, it is welcomed overseas and respected and admired by art critics everywhere.
Of late, it has also come to the attention of not only art investors but also to the wider audience, as astute buyers realize its potential in the marketplace. Hailed as arguably the last great art movement, works produced emanate from a 40,000 year Culture and Tradition. 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.
In Australia, Aboriginal art is one of the most fashionable genre of art and is in demand more than any other kind represented in the art marketplace. Many important Australian Art Galleries are devoted to or showcase some Aboriginal Art and worldwide interest is rapidly rising, as the Musee du quai Branley in Paris, instigated by French President Jacques Chirac will attest.
Now may be the best time to invest, as prices are dramatically rising, and wise investment will surely guarantee excellent returns to the Australian Aboriginal artists and then you can start to recognize which artists are producing quality paintings that are known to sell well and are in demand.
Aboriginal art can be a wise investment but one must choose prudently. Works produced by well-known and respected artists has grown in market value considerably over the past few years and can achieve a substantial benchmark for return on original outlay to the vendor.
Aboriginal Art is country based – that is to say, the artists proudly depict only the images and stories of their particular region. 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.
It is exciting to be part of their culture and share their stories of survival and be comforted by the fact that what you are buying is not only an investment, but a piece of history. As well as style, artists and the probability of high dividends for lesser outlay is a sensible decision.
Normally, age is not relevant as to the quality of the artwork; however in Aboriginal art great importance is placed on age and the tribal elders are highly respected so it becomes especially significant that all aspects are encompassed – style, medium, status of artist and age of artist. A body of works including all of these categories is desirable.
When investing in Aboriginal art, the seller, guarantees that the work is by the stated artist. Further details such as the title of the painting, information on the story of the painting, a biography of the artist including their Collections and Exhibitions and other achievements normally accompany a purchase from a reputable Seller where it is possible.
A purchaser must take into consideration the conditions under which the artwork was executed and the willingness of the artist (some of whom are very shy) in order to assess artworks with regards to authenticity and value. In this regard, many factors must be considered.
When purchasing from a Gallery or Dealer, assess their credentials as to length of time in the industry, membership with recognised associations, and their attitude in selling. When purchasing online, ensure there is a unconditional money back guarantee if the artwork is not suitable for your needs or does not meet your expectations. Art Centre provenance in the main is a safe harbour, however purchases directly from community based art centres do not necessarily ensure best investment quality.
Bear in mind, the Aboriginal artworks that have achieved highest prices through major auctions have not originated at art centres and provenance from a reputable gallery or dealer 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.
It’s also very important, even when acquiring for investment reasons, that you actually like the artwork – you want it hanging on your wall and it pleases you.
Many people discount this fact when their initial or primary objective is investment, however, the ultimate aim is to purchase investment art of which you are proud.
A good rule of thumb is not to purchase your art to 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. Consider which period of the artist’s career has produced the best and most sought after works.
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
Remember, always buy what you like so when it is hanging on your wall, the current state of the resale market is the last thing on your mind.