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Jake Biddington's Art Investing

Art as Entertainment

On a rainy Saturday, I found myself padding around the loft, half-awake, cafe au lait in hand, looking at my paintings. In that somber light, some popped and some blurred; all looked different from the way they had seemed just a couple of nights earlier when the place was aglow with noise, friends and a bluish, cigar-smoke haze. We talk a lot about art & antiques investing in this column, but it occurs to me art also serves a role as entertainment.

Living with art is different from visiting art in a museum or a gallery. A recent museum survey reported that the average visitor spends 5 seconds in front of each work of art. Living with a painting or a drawing, you see it in changing lights and varying moods. I make the effort to re-hang occasionally rotating works to different spots in my home or sometimes taking a piece to the office. Over time, a bad painting becomes slightly boring and a good painting reveals itself layer by layer. Owning original art--and I don't mean some museum shop reproduction--is a vastly different experience from doing a fly-by at a museum.

A woman friend, who is fortunate enough to own a superb sculpture of Louis XIV by Honore Daumier, claims, at evening's end, old Louie is often the most interesting man in the room. Apparently, it helps her keep her perspective on the mating game.

So if art is entertainment, why not compare its cost versus other pastimes?

Let's run the cost analysis on a night out for two at the theater in New York City:

You meet at Thalia on Eighth Avenue for a quick cocktail:

Martinis for two + tip: $30

You walk to the theatre, so add no transportation costs thus far. Assume you have purchased tickets for Wicked or Avenue Q at their face price of $100 each. (Though I don't know how you could have done this--more likely you paid a scalper at least double):

Theater tickets (face price): $200

We're not nickel & diming here, so forget the Ramolosa water and Raisinettes necessary to stem your companion's low blood-sugar attack at intermission. After the truly memorable performance, grab a cab cross-town to 51st Street and have a late, light dinner with a good bottle of wine at Brasserie:

After-theatre taxi + dinner and tips: $160

After dinner, you probably decide to wander down a block or two down to Le Bateau Ivre, Divine Bar or Deux Amis for a nightcap:
After-dinner drinks: $30   
Taxi(s) home: $15

Total cost of Manhattan theater evening for 2: $435

I could run a similar analysis for a night out with the guys for steaks and wine at Sparks or Angelo & Maxie's and a limo up to the Yankees game. (The tab doesn't get lower. Even if it's a business outing, the side bets alone...)

My point is that entertainment costs money; we don't ask ourselves if we get our investment back from the theatre or from a sports event--the fun is the payback. If you approach art as something that is fun and gives entertainment and pleasure, not every piece you buy needs to increase in price to be a good deal. A guy I know says he has amortized some of his paintings down to $.25 per look; so, it's time to buy more.

Laura Shechter lithograph Draped Cloth

Original Art for the Price of a Night Out

Figurative Art & Sculpture at Biddington's: $200-$1000

Abstract Paintings & Prints at Biddington's: $190-$1000

Still Life & Landscape at Biddington's: $160-$1000

Pop & Conceptual Art at Biddington's: $150-$1000

Jake Biddington's Collecting Series:
What's It Worth? Appraisals and Valuations
Investment Grade Contemporary Art
MORE Jake on Investing in Tangibles:
PPP Test: Judging Quality in Contemporary Art
Art, Time and Technology
American vs. European Paintings
Jake Biddington's Art as Entertainment
Jake Biddington's Vetted Antiques & Art Shows
Jake Biddington's Patent Numbers as a Dating Tool
Jake Biddington's Hard Assets as Portfolio Diversification
Jake Biddington's Buying Fine Jewelry at Auction
Jake Biddington's Long Term Investing
Jake Biddington's Short-Term Investing
Jake Biddington's The Craft of Art

Jake Biddington's BENTLEY Connoisseurs' Travel Series:
Art Tourism New York City 2005: Christo's Gates
Art Museums, Neighborhoods & Dining in Buenos Aires
Art and Touring along Italy's Amalfi Coast
Art Museums & Restaurants in Amsterdam
Cultural Touring along Spain's Costa del Sol
Art Touring in Lisbon
Art Touring in Milan
Art Touring in Antwerp
Art Touring in Barcelona
I-80 Park City to New York City Art & Antiques
Art Tourism New York City 2003 (Archive)
Art Tourism New York City 2002 (Archive)
Art & Wine in the Finger Lakes of New York State
Art & Antiques in Hudson, New York (Columbia County)
Art & Restaurants in Rome 2002 Update
Hartford & Wilton, Connecticut
San Francisco Jackson Square
New Hampshire Route 1A
Morris County, New Jersey

Contact Jake


Jake Biddington works on The Street and is responsible for the opinions & information in INVESTING. Young Jake, as he is known within the virtual BIDDINGTON clan, views tangibles such as fine art, antiques and jewelry as stores of value as viable as stocks or foreign currencies. He sees these items as another asset class in which to place one's money. To that end he keeps price histories and charting information on various categories of objects. He views some items as long term investments, others as items for a quick trade--and he even sees some as short sales.

COPYRIGHT: Images and information within are Copyright Biddington's, Inc. 1997-2005--except where superceded by individual copyrights of the artists.
Downloading or printing for online or print reproduction of any materials without specific written permission from Biddington's, Inc. is prohibited.

BIDDINGTON'S BENTLEY--Travel for the Art Connoisseur.  MY ART--Art for Kids.