Art Investment: Dos and Don’ts

Like art but don’t know where to start? Aimée Ralfini asked for some tips on what to do and what to avoid from a selection of Auckland’s top art insiders, here is their advice.


Anna Jackson – Director , Gow Langsford Gallery

“Do your research! Visit lots of galleries, build relationships with dealers and get to know the artists they represent. Once you find artists that you like, follow their careers and consider what they have already achieved. How long have they been practising for? Does the artist have an established exhibition history? Are they included in exhibitions at public institutions? Which collections hold their works? The more of these boxes you can check off, the more information you have in deciding the level at which you are comfortable investing.”


Jenny Todd – Director, Two Rooms Gallery

“Always buy large and typical of an artist’s work – you have to love it. Investments may be short- or long-term so you want to be able to live with it happily.”


Dr Maria Walls – Head of Postgraduate Studies, Media Design School

“Consider why you want to collect art —well beyond interior décor. Art leaks into life — your buying decisions eventually affect culture.”


Deborah White ONZM – Director, Whitespace Gallery and Artweek

“Look, look and look again. People spend so much time researching a car or fridge before purchase and yet rush into buying art. Read about the work or ask the artist or the dealer, understand what’s behind their ideas and concepts. Always buy what you love, what uplifts you every time you look at it. If you are lucky it may also appreciate in value and you have had the pleasure of living with it everyday.”


Sarah Hughes. Camouflage, 2016. Courtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery.



Anna Jackson – Director, Gow Langsford Gallery

“Rushing! It’s worth investing the time to get the right piece. Most of all don’t buy anything you don’t like.  It’s not all about the money, art is for enjoying. If you wouldn’t like to see it on your wall every day, it’s probably not for you.”


Jenny Todd – Director, Two Rooms Gallery

“Buying anything you don’t like. Make sure the work has enduring material qualities, ie. it doesn’t physically change over time.”


Dr Maria Walls – Head of Postgraduate Studies,  Media Design School

“Don’t buy art on a whim. Visit and re-visit the work/s you have in your sight. Seek informed and critical feedback on the item you have in mind.”


Deborah White ONZM – Director, Whitespace Gallery

“Good art never goes out of fashion – never buy an artwork because its currently trendy.”


I wish I had asked for this advice before I broke some of the cardinal rules laid out here. I am very guilty of buying art on a whim, however, I am also guilty of buying exquisite works of beauty, which fill my mind with joy and create new pathways of pleasure every time I look at them.

So my top tip on investing in art? Read the advice given here and know this: The best investment in art is to live with it and get involved with it, because it will nourish your brain more than dollars in the bank ever will.


Words: Aimée Ralfini
Featured image: 
André Hemer. Big-Node-#36, 2016. Courtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery.

Contributor Information

Aimée Ralfini interviews local and exhibiting artists on her weekly radio show on 95bFM. She also hosts ‘Art Ache’ – a back-alley art soiree, inspired by the romance of ‘the artist’s studio’, where she delves into the lives of artists and shares their stories and art treasures.

Next Event is scheduled for Late Night Art during Artweek at the Helen Melville centre. Check out for information.