Collecting and Investing in Abstract Art

Collecting and Investing in Abstract Art

Art experts, collectors and connoisseurs agree: Abstract art is enjoying a worldwide revival. While established collectors have long collected abstract art for aesthetic and investment purposes, a new generation of collectors is also becoming involved with this highly lucrative art market.

Even if you’re new to abstract art, you’re probably aware that the genre encapsulates the artistic freedoms of the 20th and 21st centuries. Abstract art leaves itself open to the interpretation of the observer; and it’s because of this that abstract paintings have a particularly personal appeal to many collectors.

The History of Abstract Expressionism

The abstract expressionism movement had its beginnings in early 20th century New York City, where young artists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning met and discussed their newly-evolving methods with their colleagues.  Although we think of abstract expressionism as an American genre, some of its roots are grounded in Cubism, which, as a forerunner to abstract expressionism, reflects cultural influences from both Europe and Africa.

Abstract expressionism began to thrive during the 1930s when the government-funded Works Progress Administration helped many abstract artists to promote and sell their works. Culturally, abstract art reached its heyday in the 1950s when works by Pollock and de Kooning began to be shown in galleries and museums around the world — and to fetch astronomically high prices. During this period, abstract art began to be seriously considered for its potential investment value.


Famous Abstract Artists

Since the beginning of the abstract expressionism movement, certain abstract artists have stood out from the rest of the crowd. Among these are the artists who are considered today to be the first great representatives of the movement in America: Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.

Perhaps the most famous of these from a celebrity standpoint was Jackson Pollock, who was sometimes called “Jack the Dripper” in homage to the special technique he perfected of dripping and spattering paint, in wide swashes of color, across his huge canvases. Willem de Kooning, another advocate of color, expressed himself by applying colors that are almost disturbingly dissimilar; these huge, garish clashes of tint evoke a different response in every viewer.

During this period, other creators of great abstract paintings included Mark Tobey, whose works, although considered abstract expressionism, are deeply rooted in Asian calligraphy.

Among today’s abstract artists, some of the more famous include Polly Apfelbaum and Jenny Monick both of whom recently received rave reviews for a showing at Boston University. Apfelbaum utilizes mixed media — including hand-dyed fabrics — to achieve works filled with color and light. Monick creates her swirl-filled canvases in a deluge of deep, rich, vibrant color — but occasionally she veers off into stark black, white and gray.

South African artist Glen Joesselsohn, who has been critically hailed in exhibitions throughout the world, creates abstract paintings with his own contemporary spin, utilizing bright elementary colors to achieve canvases full of energy and movement.


Abstract Paintings as an Investment

The works of any abstract artist aren’t guaranteed to rise in price, but over the years abstract paintings have proven to be a sound investment for collectors. Paintings by such luminaries as Pollock and de Kooning, for example, now sell for millions of dollars. A great many of today’s important abstract artists are already starting to garner huge sums for their paintings. If they can’t afford originals,

collectors on a budget will eagerly seek out highly collectible serigraphs from their favorite artists.

If you’re interested in collecting abstract art for investment purposes, then you’ll want to follow the market closely in order to make the most appropriate, business savvy choices.

Whether you’re interested in collecting abstract paintings for investment purposes, or whether you’re genuinely passionate about the genre, it’s important to collect what you like, and to choose works that you can take pleasure in owning for a long time to come.


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