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The Visual Dividend: Art's enduring value beyond the market

What do a stock trader and a collector have in common? A racing heartbeat when talking about their trade, clammy hands during a bid or transaction, a composed demeanor in strategizing their venture, and a skipped heartbeat at unexpected downturns, to name a few.

David LaChapelle "Negative Currency" at Geuer & Geuer Art 2018

In today’s financialized art world, collectors and art lovers might feel like they are on a rollercoaster ride akin to the stock market with skyrocketing auction prices and heart-wrenching losses on hyped one-day wonders. How does one anchor their emotions?

Excursus art market 

Initially, also in the art world, we are talking about a market, where supply and demand determine prices. Period. These principles apply across many liberal markets, where individuals are free to spend their money as they wish. Considering the financial aspects and investment potential is never a misstep, especially in the unregulated art market, seen as an asset class for diversification in investment – with its peculiar specialties. Those drawn to speculation and high-risk purchases will love the art market exactly for its unpredictability. Setting aside these more gambling “investors”, facts and figures do not fully capture the essence of the art market where the product transcends mere material, paint, and sweat extending into aesthetic and cultural significance. An artist’s reputation and history resulting in authenticity and provenance serve as good parameters for a collector’s choice. Conduct thorough research. But what else?

Enter the visual dividend — a comforting notion amidst depreciation or even total collapse.

It continues to give back and will keep on giving. This dividend manifests in a wholly different manner by enriching your aesthetic experience. Artwork provides daily pleasure without succumbing to wear and tear such as utilitarian items, inviting engagement. Engagement inevitably reflects a certain degree of emotional impact ranging from mood enhancement and increased well-being to stress reduction. Art beckons us to engage as artists communicate and express themselves through their art, conveying ideas and narratives. As mentioned earlier, emotions span from pleasure, joy and awe to contemplation and introspection, depending on the viewer’s connection to the art at hand. These emotions often prompt thought-provoking and intellectual inquiries, encouraging interpretation and analysis of the work in various ways.

Beyond financial value, personal significance is paramount. Artworks with a strong visual dividend tend to be more highly esteemed by collectors and art enthusiasts, leading to deeper appreciation. This broader perspective reveals art’s contribution to the cultural richness of society by fostering appreciation for diverse artistic expressions and traditions.

An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he – for some reason – thinks it would be a good idea to give them.” –  Andy Warhol

To conclude, beyond the numbers and market trends, the visual dividend underscores the enduring value of art, enriching lives and transcending financial considerations. As collectors and enthusiasts, let's continue to cherish and support the arts, fostering a vibrant cultural landscape for generations to come. Because: Art is a state of mind.

Yours truly,


A&P sidenote: David LaChapelle (born 1963 in Simsbury, Connecticut, United States), renowned for his vibrant and surreal photography, captivates audiences with his bold and imaginative compositions, blurring the lines between art, fashion, and pop culture. His work often challenges societal norms and provokes thought, inviting viewers into a visually stunning and thought-provoking world.

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