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North American art and modern forms of investment

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  • Design
  • Philosophy


The relationship between art and commerce has a very long history dating back to ancient Rome. Traditionally, art was enjoyed not only for financial gains but for decorative purposes, as a sign of social prestige or religious morality and most for aesthetic pleasure. However, in recent decades, the emergence of art solely as a speculative asset has not only raised questions but also fears about the negative impact it will have on artwork. Some believe that art has become as immaterial as stocks traded on the stock market with their aesthetic value rendered meaningless. The purpose of this study is to examine the development of two new types of art investment strategies which have modified the role of art as a commodity: art in investment portfolios and art-investment funds. More precisely, this study will situate these developments in a North American context, focusing on how American and Canadian art might function in an investment portfolio and an art-investment fund. While American and Canadian art is not used as a tool for diversification in a traditional investment portfolio, American art-investment funds are prevalent but as yet for the most part unsuccessful. Therefore, since art's development as a strong alternative asset class is still in its early stages, it is somewhat early to predict the full impact these modern types of investments will have on the North American art world.

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