How to Invest in Art in the Philippines

Last Updated – Nov 5, 2023 @ 12:32 pm

Without art, the world would be a bland place. Art is emotional. It is liberating. And most of all, it’s an incredible form of investment.

“Only invest what you understand” is a rule many investors follow to grow their wealth. After all, purchasing stocks without understanding it can be likened to gambling. In many ways, the same principle also applies to alternative investments such as fine art.

Most individuals who buy alternative investments become fans of the investment first before they invested in it. Meaning, they developed genuine love and interest in whatever assets they choose, and all appreciation in value in their collection is just a bonus instead of a must-have.

Having art as a form of investment will add another layer and dimension to your portfolio. These days, investing in art means more than just keeping some paintings in a secret room for years before selling them.

If you currently find it difficult to wrap your head around investing in art, especially if you’re on a budget, this guide is for you.

Why Invest in Art?

If you’re a savvy investor, then you already know that the trick to building a safe investment portfolio is to diversify it.

If you are considering buying art, you should first know the advantages and disadvantages of having this as part of your portfolio.

Pros

You can enjoy the artwork

Art is one of the best investments for you if you’re looking for personal enjoyment. After all, it is an asset that you can display and appreciate.

Unlike other investments that you can’t touch or see, you can enjoy your art piece as long as you own it.

It’s not dependent on the stock market

When the market goes down or up, your art won’t be affected. This makes it an amazing hedge against inflation.

Volatility is also not an issue in the art world so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you won’t be plagued by constant market fluctuations.

Its value appreciates over time

Unlike the prices of company stocks which reflect volatile prices, art pieces usually appreciate at a steady rate.

If you’ve done your research and you chose art wisely (with or without a mentor), you can definitely capitalize on this investment form. With luck and time, your art piece’s value will skyrocket.

It’s a great way to impress your peers

Although this is not the most important reason to invest in art, it’s a good bonus. Having art pieces as an investment is one of the best ways you can introduce art to your peers and family.

It can even increase your social standing.

There are different types of art you can purchase

There are so many different art forms you can purchase. Whether you love paintings, ceramics, sculptures, or even digital art, you can shop to your heart’s content.

It’s not easy to invest in art

A few decades ago, only the elite could invest in art. However, that is not the case today.

It’s now very easy to inform yourself about different types of artworks, as well as their potential for value appreciation.

You can develop knowledge of the art world

Just like any investment, you need to study art carefully if you want to invest in it. This pursuit of knowledge will drive you to learn a lot about the art world, which will make you more experienced and wiser over time.

You can use this knowledge in the future to your advantage if you want to buy more art.

Cons

You need a good eye

The art world is quite complicated. It is very cutthroat and you need a good eye, plus a bit of luck.

Your first artwork may not be your wisest purchase but thankfully, you can develop your eye for art over time.

It’s not a liquid investment

Another huge downside to investing in art is that it’s not as liquid as other investments like stocks that you can sell within seconds.

With art, it may take you a long time to make a profit.

You may even be forced to sell it for less than what you bought it for in times of emergency when you need cash fast.

You must keep it in the best condition

This is one of the biggest problems of beginner art investors. Investing in art means you should learn how to store art correctly.

If you don’t store it properly, your item will lose its quality over time. Therefore, you’ll lose money.

Additionally, if you plan on investing in art pieces that are more fragile such as porcelain, you need to be more careful with it.

There is no guarantee of its value appreciation

Just like other forms of investment, investing in art is also a gamble. You may hit the jackpot, but you may also lose money.

The art market is incredibly complex and even the most experienced buyers make unwise investments.

Beginners easily get convinced to buy poor-quality art

If you don’t know anyone in the art world, it can be hard to look for a mentor. There are tons of dodgy individuals who may take advantage of your lack of expertise to fool you.

If you get easily convinced, you may end up losing your money by buying artwork that has very little value.


Types of Artworks You Can Invest In

We’ve gathered the different types of art you can invest in below.

Individual works

If you’re the type of investor who wants to buy something that you can show off in your home or office, go with individual works. You can purchase this art through an auction house, art fair, or a dealer.

There’s a wide array of works that cater to different styles and taste so do your research in advance. If you want to be sure, look for artwork that has been bought multiple times in the past, and examine its growth rate.

It’s also wise to look at the previous works of the artist if you want to hold on to a particular art piece for a long period.

Art funds

Although there are no index funds or ETFs in the art world, there are companies that offer art-specific funds for investors like you.

Blue-chip art functions like blue-chip stocks, and it encompasses master artists’ works with values that increased over time, as well as different artworks from other artists.

Fractional shares

Unless you have millions of pesos at your disposal, you may not be able to buy artwork from leading artists.

This is where fractional shares come into play. Tons of platforms let you purchase shares of expensive works of art so you can diversify your portfolio.

Digital art

This is one of the most popular ways to invest in art today. You can purchase digital art from online artists, or you can purchase NFTs.

Since 2019, NFTs have been steadily growing in popularity, and it is expected to reach $231 billion market worth by 2030, according to Forbes India. Non-Fungible Tokens are supported by a blockchain network and provide transparency, liquidity, and authenticity.

You can buy tons of NFTs from different local and international leading and emerging artists in just a few clicks.


Things to Consider When Investing in Art

Here are some factors to keep in mind when investing in art.

The different types of artists

Before you invest in any art, you should recognize what type of artist you want to invest in. For instance, you can invest in an emerging artist who is still in the early stages of his/her professional career.

This artist’s work is still starting to gain traction and press coverage. Keep in mind that with this type of artist, you may have to wait a while for the work to increase in value.

The next type of artist you can invest in is established artists. As its name suggests, this artist is very known within the art market and their work is constantly being auctioned.

These artists have a solid track record when it comes to sales. They also hold regular gallery shows.

Lastly, you can invest in blue-chip artists. These are artists that are already household names and are known even outside the art circle.

Their works can be found not only in national but also in international collections and galleries. Most of these artists have passed away.

Supply and demand

The major challenge when it comes to investing in art is understanding supply and demand. More individuals want to buy significant art than those who want to sell it.

The reduced supply makes way for scarcity, and then price appreciation.

If you attend an exhibition where you see tons of red dots (it means sold) beside the works, it means the artist has a high demand for his/her work.

This is something you should always take into consideration, especially when you want to start investing in the works of emerging artists.

Authenticity of provenance

Authenticity of provenance means that the origin of the artwork has been identified accurately. It is not only significant in a financial sense, but also morally.

When this is present, it means that the artwork is original and not a forgery. Ensuring the integrity of your investment is your job, whether it comes to old or contemporary art.

Your investment goals

Just like any other kind of investment, you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from your art investments.

Are you looking to achieve a short-term investment, or are you looking for long-term growth? Maybe you want to pass it on to your children?

You should be able to specify this for you to narrow down your choices when investing in art.

Take into account the condition of the piece

The condition of the artwork you plan on purchasing matters a lot. A beat-up painting can be worth much less than a well-preserved work.

If you have no idea how to determine the condition of an artwork, you can consult experts or even the person who’s selling the art.

You can even get the opinion of other people to know what they think of the art you plan on purchasing.

Aside from the condition of the art, you should also consider how you will maintain or restore it. Consult a professional for this.


Where to Buy Artworks in the Philippines 

One misconception of people who aren’t in the art circle is that it’s hard to find artwork to buy in the Philippines.

However, you’d be surprised at how accessible artworks are.

No matter what your budget is, here are the different platforms and channels where you can get works of art.

FilipinoArt PH

COVID-19 has truly changed the world in so many ways that even artists have learned to adapt to it. Platforms such as Filipino Art Ph have been championing the sale of a wide array of Filipino artists who want to connect themselves to current and potential patrons.

These digital platforms function as online galleries and are constantly updated. For example, Filipino Art has a roster of around 300 artists from all over the country and the world. 

To buy artwork from this platform, you simply need to select from its vast collection of original work. Then you can visualize your chosen work in your office, home, or any space you want to display it.

When buying the artwork, you have the option to frame it and order a canvas print in various sizes. After paying online, your art will be delivered to your doorstep. You don’t even need to leave your home. 


Instagram

You may think Instagram is only a social media platform, but you’ll be surprised at how much it has helped artists rake in customers.

Artists can be found all over Instagram.

Usually, these artists post their works, link to their websites, as well as information on how patrons like you can buy their art. Instagram is also a good source of information for gallery shows and auctions. 


Local Galleries

There is an abundance of local galleries in the country that offer artworks by various artists. These galleries are selling everything from paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and other kinds of artworks.

Not only are these studios great places to buy artwork, but they’re also great places to visit and get to know more about the local art scene. Some Metro Manila galleries worth checking out include:

Silverlens Galleries 

Check the Viewing Room on its website, or book a visit at 2263 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.

Modeka Creative Space 

Great for art lovers who are looking for any type of visual art. Modeka also holds artist talks, art previews, and open studios.

Visit them at Warehouse 20A La Fuerza 1, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.

Finale Art File

One of the most successful galleries in the country, especially for those looking for contemporary art. This gallery often showcases experimental works that aim to revolutionize the art world. 

Check out the Finale Art File at La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.

Provenance Art Gallery

An avant-garde gallery that exhibits some of the most prolific Filipino artists such as Betsy Westendorp and Andres Barrioquinto, in addition to many emerging artists.

Schedule an appointment or private viewing at the 2nd Floor, Shangri-La At The Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Galleria Duemila

This is the oldest-running commercial gallery in the Philippines, and it showcases the works of various master and emerging artists. This gallery also holds performance arts and music jams. 

It is located at 210 Loring Street, Pasay City.


Auction Houses 

An auction house is a property where artworks (or any objects) are sold to the highest bidder.

While some of the galleries listed above also hold auctions, these two are the premier auction houses in the Philippines worth checking out. 

Salcedo Auctions

This is the only auction house in the country that specializes in jewelry, collectibles, fine art, and decorative art.

You can bid in-person, online, or by leaving an absentee or telephone bid. Check out this guide on how to bid at Salcedo Auctions here

Leon Gallery

The mission of this gallery is to make local art accessible not only to Filipinos but the rest of the world. It specializes in finding museum-quality and historically-significant art pieces such as the works of Juan Luna and Fernando Amorsolo.

Check out their live and online auctions here


Art Fairs

Attending art fairs allows investors and art enthusiasts to get up close and personal with the artists, and see how their work is created.

With art fairs, viewers will also get the chance to taste delicious food, listen to live music, and engage in various creative activities.

Art Fair Philippines is one of the leading events in the country. This year, it will be held from March 23 to April 1. Know more about it here


NFT Marketplaces

Want to purchase digital art?

Then NFT marketplaces are your best bet.

Here, you can check out and purchase works from artists all over the world. Some of the top NFT marketplaces today include:

  • OpenSea
  • Rarible
  • SuperRare
  • Nifty Gateway
  • Foundation
  • MakersPlace
  • NBA Top Shot
  • AtomicMarket
  • KnownOrigin

Curious about NFTs? Check out our in-depth guide on how to buy and invest in NFTs here


How to Start Investing in Art in the Philippines

Now, you’re probably wondering how you can start investing in art. It’s actually easier than you might think. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it. 

Step 1: Appreciate the arts and know your preferences

You don’t want to invest in something without knowing what you want. This is why it’s important to find out your preferences so that you’ll be able to find the perfect piece for you. 

Educating yourself about the art world will give you a better understanding of the entire industry. If you’re not interested in reading art books or museums, then go ahead and listen to podcasts and interviews, or read articles online.

Step 2: Know the goal of your art collection

Are you planning to sell your art in the future? Or are you planning to keep it and pass it on to your children?

Know the goal of your art collection so that you can invest more wisely. 

Step 3: Determine your budget

Art doesn’t come cheap. If you’re planning to invest, then create a realistic budget. If you want to get expensive art pieces, create a separate investment fund for this.

During this step, you should also assess how much risk you’re willing to take on when it comes to your art collection/investment.

If you can take on more risk, it usually often comes with a higher price tag. For instance, you can purchase expensive original works at art fairs, auctions, or galleries. These may be worth more than what you bought it for in the future.

On the other hand, you can go with low-risk and less expensive artwork. For instance, you can buy a print or an original artwork from an artist on his/her website.

If you want low-risk but you’re able to shell out more money, opt for pieces by blue-chip artists whose works tend to hold their high value better. 

Step 4: Find your platform of choice

There are many different websites and art galleries you can choose from. Some like to purchase art on websites with a wide range of options, while others like to go to a physical gallery and get a sense of the art before buying it.

Whichever one you choose is up to you, but be sure to do your research beforehand.

Step 5: Hold on to your art

Now, here’s the most important step. Even though it’s tempting to sell it after a few months, don’t let go of your artwork quickly just so you can immediately profit from your sale (this also depends on what your investment goal is).

When you factor in commissions from dealers/galleries/auction houses, you may end up losing money.

If you want to resell your art piece in the future, take good care of your art and make sure it’s in its best condition. 

Step 6: Know how to sell your artworks

If you’re planning to sell your art, you should know how to go about it. When it comes to reselling your art, you have a couple of options.

First, you can sell it yourself. Second, you can choose to sell it through a dealer or an auction house.

Auction houses usually charge 5% to 25% of the sale price. This is the recommended route for collectors because they will handle the entire process, including documentation, legal aspects, and marketing.

Related: How to Invest your Money Wisely


Tips for Investing in Art Collections in the Philippines

Now that you know how to invest in art, here’s some more information that can help you along the way.

Get to know your taste

While it’s integral to purchase what you like, you should always strive to educate yourself when it comes to art. Know the different kinds of styles and mediums because this will help you make a more informed decision in the future. 

Also find out how different mediums can affect an artwork’s price tag. For instance, a pencil drawing on paper may be more affordable than an acrylic painting on canvas. 

It’s also best to only invest in artworks that you know, or that you believe will hold their value in the future.

Consider focusing on one category, but buy from different artists

When you’re just starting, it’s best to focus on one category to make your collection more cohesive. For instance, you can focus on still life, nature, or portraits. 

While it’s tempting to buy all artworks that pique your interest, creating a collection with a specific purpose/category will make your collection more focused. It will also help you find a good balance between spending and saving.

Of course, it is also recommended to diversify your artist portfolio whenever possible. While it’s good to be the patron of a certain artist, making your collection more diverse and supporting different artists will introduce more variety to your collection and therefore, your investments. This also equals less risk. 

Don’t be afraid to start small

If you’re a beginner, you don’t want to start investing all your hard-earned money in art right away. It is recommended to start small with a budget you are comfortable with.

If you feel like you want to spend more than what you’re budgeting for, save up for it for a couple of months first.

Know the latest trends

Like fashion, trends in art are constantly changing. That said, you must know the latest in the art world so you can pick the best pieces at the most affordable prices.

Trends and cycles will also play a huge role in deciding how much your art pieces will be worth.

It’s okay to negotiate, but don’t lowball artists

Many artists won’t mind negotiating the price of their artwork with you. If they can afford to give discounts, they will.

But keep in mind that you should always start with a reasonable offer instead of undervaluing their work. Treat artists with respect and don’t lowball them.

If you keep buying work from a certain artist, dealer, or gallery, you’re bound to enjoy discounts later on. 

Avoid buying artworks in a rush

Always take your time when you’re shopping for art. Don’t purchase an artwork just because you’re excited, or because you’re in a rush.

When you let excitement get the best of you, you may end up regretting it. Only buy what you like and what you feel is worth it.

To guide you, create a wishlist of artworks/artists you’re interested in buying. 

Don’t be too worried about the short-term

If you’re just starting as an art collector, you should keep in mind that it takes time. If your goal is a lucrative return, it may be impossible to reach maximum profit in just a few years.

It’s best to think of art as a long-term investment. It will most likely take decades for your collection to be considered valuable.

Don’t be swayed by hype

Art fads come and go, and prices for works of art will fluctuate as a result. For example, if a certain artist becomes really popular, you can expect their work to increase in price.

However, this doesn’t mean that all the work of that artist will remain high forever. 

Always do your research

To make sure you’re making a worthwhile investment, always take the time to research the artist, the artwork, and how much it has changed in price through the years.

Factor in the maintenance of the piece. Don’t buy if you can’t afford the maintenance

It’s important to know if some works will require special framing, preservation, restoration, or other kinds of maintenance and special storage. This is especially true if you’re buying a large-scale piece of art.

Make sure you have the money to take care of your new investment. If not, look for an alternative.

Maintain a good relationship with galleries and make connections whenever possible

Establishing and building relationships with personalities in the art community is extremely useful for budding investors like you.

These people already have a huge knowledge when it comes to buying art so consulting them will help you navigate the risks and potential pitfalls of investing in art for the first time.

While this investment class can be very lucrative, it still comes with unique challenges that can be overwhelming to face alone.

But when you have developed relationships with reliable and trusted experts, you can seek their help whenever needed. 

Always require a certificate of authenticity

There’s always a risk of acquiring fake artwork. The good news is there are a few good ways to protect yourself.

For instance, always buy from reputable dealers and galleries. Next, try to find out as much as you can about the artwork in question.

Fraudsters are experts at fooling people, so it doesn’t hurt to check the authenticity of the artwork you want. Never hesitate to demand for a certificate of authenticity.  

Consult an advisor if needed

If you’re still unsure about investing in art, or if you’re new in the art world, you can always consult an art advisor and have them do the legwork for you.

There are a lot of risks involved when you invest in art. Not only will advisors be able to help you avoid mistakes, but they can also help you make better decisions on how you can invest your hard-earned money.

Earnings from art are great but don’t depend on them

While art is a good investment, it’s not a dependable and steady source of income for everyone.

If you plan on making a living from art investing, then you mustn’t depend on the returns from your art collection alone. 

Don’t buy just for investment

Always make sure you’re buying art because you love it. This can be a good way to find hidden value in your art assets.

Just because a piece may not necessarily increase in price doesn’t mean that you can’t derive pleasure from it and enjoy it for other reasons.


Art Investing FAQs

Still got questions about investing in art? We’ve gathered some frequently asked questions below.

How much do you need to invest in art?

The answer ultimately depends on you. If you want to go with emerging artists, you can start from P15,000 or go higher if you wish. Obviously, some paintings may cost you 6 or 7-digit figures.

For those who want to try fractional art investments, $1,000 or around P55,000 is a good starting point. Meanwhile, NFTs can change from P10,000 (or lower) to millions of pesos. 

Did you know that the most expensive NFT to date was sold for a whopping $91.8 million or a little over P5.3 billion. The piece is Pak’s “The Merge.’

Is art a good investment?

Absolutely. Although risky, art can be a very profitable investment. Just make sure to do your research. 

Who should invest in art? 

If you love art, investing in it will be great since it will give you a sense of personal satisfaction (no price tag can beat that). 

Investing in art is also recommended for people who already have a diverse portfolio (with less risky assets) and those that can afford to lock up an investment for many years. After all, investing in art is not a get-rich-quick method.

Art investors are recommended to have a window of around 10 years before selling them. If you want to pass it on to your descendants, they will surely benefit from the value appreciation. Just be patient. It will pay off in the long run.


Disclaimer: All information listed in this article is for information purposes only. Although utmost effort was made to ensure accuracy of information on this website, readers must not solely rely on it in making any investment or financial decision since it does not take into consideration the risk tolerance, financial situation, investment goals, and experience of readers. It is best to consult a professional financial planner or your bank before investing to make a more informed choice and limit your risk exposure.

About MJ de Castro

MJ de Castro is the lead personal finance columnist at Grit PH.

MJ started her career as a writer for her local government’s City Information Office. Later on, she became a news anchor on PTV Davao del Norte.

Wanting to break free from the shackles of her 9-to-5 career to live by the beach, she pursued remote work. Over the years, she has developed a wide specialization on health, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, branding, and travel.

Now, she juggles writing professionally, her business centering on women’s menstrual health, and surfing.

Education: Ateneo de Davao University (AB Mass Communication)
Focus: Personal Finance, Personal Development, Entrepreneurship, & Marketing

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