Does Monet Beat the Dow? How Artworks Perform as an Investment

Everyone loves a story about collectors who bought art for a song and sold it for a million. Once in a blue moon, that actually happens. In the case of Impressionist art, though, dappled landscapes and dreamy portraits by Monet, Renoir, and Degas were oftentimes considered investments before the paint on the canvas had dried.   For answers, we turned to two artworks that will hit the auction block at the annual mega-sales in New York next month, then plotted their historical sale prices against the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The Takeaway

If you’d bought in 1962, you’d be doing great. If you bought after the 1980s, your returns against the Dow would be disappointing.

All this, however, leaves out one crucial component: You can’t wake up every day to admire a stock index above your dining room table.


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