Few things have the capacity to stir the soul like culture.
Music, film or fine art can move us to a state of exhilaration or despair but can also touch our bank balances too.
It is something counted on by the leading museums and galleries at home and abroad.
The latest figures show that the world’s 100 leading art institutions attracted 71 million visitors between them during the course of 2021.
There are seemingly plenty of people with the means and the motivation not just to gaze in awestruck fashion at works by famous artists like Botticelli, Basquiat and Banksy hung on the walls of the Louvre, the Hermitage or the Tate but to have them hung on their own.
Two years ago, the fine art market bounced back from a lockdown blip with art sales raking in more than £54 billion.
The amount generated by sales in 2022 may even beat that figure, buoyed in part by the November auction of paintings once owned by the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen.
His collection, which numbered some of the most notable exponents of Impressionism, including Seurat, Cezanne and van Gogh, made quite the impression, fetching more than £1.2 billion.
It may come as little surprise, then, to find that art has become the world’s most rapidly appreciating luxury asset, according to the latest edition of Knight Frank’s Wealth Report.
The report documents how art has outpaced the other leading “investments of passion”, such as sportscars and watches, and increased by an average of 29 per cent in the last 12 months.
That doesn’t just refer to the choicest pieces by the most famous names ever to wield a chisel, paintbrush or camera.
The most recent Art Basel report, in fact, noted that two-thirds of the fine art which came up at auction in 2021 was sold for less than $5,000 (£4,100).
Art’s status as a prime investment may be down to more than just the disposal of a number of blockbuster collections.
As my colleague Lauren Winstanley observed on this ‘blog in January, watches had previously caught the eye of investors only for that market to experience difficulties.
It might well be, therefore, that individuals drawn to the potential returns offered by investments rather than the technical prowess or style of a painter or sculptor have looked to art as a suitable alternative.
For anyone who has already invested in art or is looking to do so, there are certain similarities with watches.
One notable point is that the market for such items is incredibly fluid. Prices can change dramatically depending on the current renown, the supply or even the death of a leading name.
Perhaps unlike watches, theft is not the only concern. Fire, water and accidental damage can all affect the physical integrity – and the market value – of a piece of art.
Insurers expect collectors themselves to keep their valuations updated but don’t all necessarily provide guidance as to how often that should be done.
In the case of the many art enthusiasts on whose behalf Broadway works, we generally speak to them every few months to check on any purchases or fluctuating values.
The unfortunate alternative is when someone needs to make a claim only to find that a payout is far less than arguably it should be to replace or repair an item.
Whether art is a lifelong passion or an occasional acquisition to add a splash of colour and elegance to a home or office, it can literally pay to make sure that you’re properly covered.
Written by Matt Rawsthorne, Client Executive