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The Art of Investing

In the vibrant Dallas art scene, your perfect collection awaits.

Every good investor knows that having a diversified portfolio is a smart move. While stocks ebb and flow with the market, tangible assets like fine art have the potential to appreciate significantly over time, regardless of external factors—making art investments a great way to protect against the whims of the global market.

Since Baron Claes Rålamb opened the first auction house in Stockholm, Sweden in 1674, affluent communities have purchased, traded and sold works for profit. Much has changed since then, as investing in art has become more accessible to the masses, but the premise remains the same: Art investments tend to breed profits in the long term, but the benefits exceed far beyond monetary gains.

“Art is very personal,” says Debra Ferrari, artist, art consultant and co-owner of Ferrari Gallery. “It’s something you can have in your home. It's something you'll really enjoy throughout your life, and even for generations to come. That’s the beautiful thing—it doesn't decrease in value, it only increases.”

Ferrari got her start in the industry at only five years old, when she won her first art award, and she’s been infatuated ever since. Now operating Ferrari Gallery out of two locations in the Dallas Design District and Southlake, Texas, Ferrari and her husband James have been creating and selling art, as well as working with interior decorators, architects and collectors to connect different people with pieces that move them for over 28 years. We sat down with her to learn more about the Dallas art market, what to know about investing in different works and how to build your art investment portfolio.

Thanks to an ever-growing collection of esteemed galleries and museums, such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center — the art scene in Dallas is booming. North Texas residents have a plethora of unique works to explore, and there’s something for everybody. 

“I’ve lived in a few different places throughout my life, and I’ve never experienced an arts district as wonderful as Dallas’,” Ferrari says. “The way they designed it and developed it is just wonderful for our community. What I love most is that all of the galleries are so different from each other, so there’s a lot to choose from. At Ferrari Gallery, all of our artisans are inspired by nature, but every gallery has its own focus.”

With so many options available, Ferrari notes that a good place to start when embarking on the very personal endeavor of investing in art is to identify the type of collection you want to build. While many people collect art for themselves and as generational pieces for their families, others collect from specific artists whose stories they are drawn to, and many also build collections purely as investments.

“Art is emotional, so I always suggest that people look at different galleries, go to different art fairs and see what art and artists they connect with,” Ferrari says. “Some people are on a different level where they strictly collect Picassos or Monets, so it just depends on what type of collection you would like to have.”

Along with investing in art that speaks to you, it’s also important to understand what contributes to the value of a piece. According to Ferrari, aspects like medium and style might not have as much of an impact as where the work originated, when it was created and the notoriety of the artist.

“I think that provenance can increase the value of the piece,” she says. “Also, the artists you should really look at investing in are the ones who are working full-time, have exhibitions on their resume, have been a part of some professional art fairs and are represented in an art gallery. For example, some of the artists we carry are extremely established and some of them are emerging, but all of their artwork is increasing in value every year.”

Full-time artists tend to breed more long-term success than hobbyists, but with so many devoted talents out there, a winning investment could be just around the corner — and Ferrari’s experienced it first hand.

“Robert Rauschenberg would always donate art to one of the charities we’re involved in,” she says. “We invested in a piece, and he was one of the highest paid living artists at the time. Since then, his work has just skyrocketed. So you never know when those opportunities might come around, where you buy a piece of art, and years later it's worth a lot more than you paid for it.”

In the end, the investment that you’ll be happy with is one that you connect with personally, so take advantage of Dallas' diverse art scene, purchase the pieces you love, enjoy them in your home — and you might even hit the jackpot.

Art is something you’ll really enjoy throughout your life.

I’ve never experienced an arts district as wonderful as Dallas’.

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