Art, as I’ve mentioned before, is good for you.
Not only does it provide a number of different routes to a state of wellbeing (see my previous post: Five ways looking at art is good for your health), it can enrich you financially (blog post: Why you should invest in art — and artists).
Now there is further evidence of its value as an investment, with The Times of London reporting that the art market has roared ahead over the last 12 months.
Record-breaking sales have pushed up art prices 30 per cent in the year to June to beat other investments, according to the Luxury Investment Index by the estate agency Knight Frank.
As a comparison with other asset classes, the UK's FTSE-100 index only recorded a five per cent increase over the same period, while prime central London property fell one per cent.
At the top end of the market, Gustav Klimt’s Dame Mit Fächer (Lady With Fan) went for £85.3 million including fees at a Sotheby’s auction in June — a record for a work sold under the hammer in Europe.
It was bought by an anonymous collector in Hong Kong.
Art, as with other luxury goods, is seen as a way to diversify an investment portfolio and is popular among the super-rich.
For most of us, speculating on art will be too risky — and it is highly unlikely that we'll be bidding for the next Klimt that comes up at auction.
However, that does not mean that spending a few hundred (or even thousand) pounds on a piece that we really like — and that will give us a lot of enjoyment — will not prove a lucrative investment.
Just look at how the value of Banksy prints have shot up over recent years (myartbroker.com/artist-banksy) or for that matter the works of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry or David Hockney.
Buying directly from the artist is often a good strategy.
Not only does it mean that the artwork is likely to be less expensive, it also supports the creative practice of the artist — enabling them to forward their careers (thus enhancing the chances of their work being sought-after).
For those looking to buy at this end of the market, there are a number of good online destinations to discover new artistic talent.