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Tyler Cowen

Art Is an Investment to Appreciate

Even if an artwork doesn’t increase in value, it provides its owner intangible benefits that equities do not.

Deep appreciation.

Deep appreciation.

Photographer: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images North America

Technology stocks have taken a deep dive, blue-chip stocks are ailing, stablecoins aren’t stable, and don’t even ask about traditional crypto. Art markets, however, are alive and well — and it’s worth asking why.

Recently an Andy Warhol painting sold at auction for $195 million, the highest price ever for a 20th century artwork. A dance hall-themed painting by Ernie Barnes went for $15.3 million, 76 times the original estimate. The Macklowe collection sold at Sotheby’s for $246.1 million, the most ever for a single collection.