Over the past few years, a novel class of investors has emerged, breaking down the barriers of entry to a domain once reserved for the affluent and seasoned. This new wave of investors, often younger and less financially endowed than their traditional counterparts, is navigating the art investment landscape with a keen eye for both contemporary and classical works. Their secret? Engaging in the fractional art market, where they can own pieces of masterpieces, one shard at a time.
The allure of owning a fragment of a masterpiece has given rise to a robust fractional art industry, where various methodologies of dividing artworks, both ancient and modern, are reaping rewards. Fractionalizing art not only broadens the investor base capable of affording to speculate but also enhances liquidity for a traditionally illiquid asset class, especially when those fractions can be traded on the blockchain.
For collectors who are intrigued by the concept of fractional art yet wish to remain tethered to traditional investments, platforms like Masterworks have emerged as reputable providers. With over $800M AUM and featuring works from renowned artists like Banksy and Warhol, Masterworks has become a notable player in the space. The appeal is palpable, with blue-chip art outperforming nearly every other asset class in recent years and investors witnessing annualized returns of 13-32% on high-performing contemporary works.
On the blockchain, art is being fractionalized in numerous innovative ways, allowing buyers to trade it in tokenized form. Platforms like Artfi are pioneering the drive to fractionalize art in a blockchain context, leveraging NFTs to facilitate this. Their recent venture involved artist Sacha Jafri releasing a fractionalized digital art collection derived from paintings of Rolls Royce cars, titled “The Six Elements,” showcasing the innovation driven by the demand for fractional art.
A report published by ArtTactic in April revealed that 9% of collectors surveyed have purchased fractional art shares, with 61% expressing a likelihood to do so in the next 12 months. Several factors seem to be propelling the growth of the fractional art market, one of which is the anticipation of profit. While investing in art carries no certainties, blue-chip works by contemporary artists have outperformed equities this century.
Moreover, collectible art has demonstrated to be a reliable store of value and, in numerous instances, has augmented its value in under three years, securing a substantial profit for its owners. While no market can perpetually ascend, art, from the Old Masters and their 20th-century counterparts, has proven remarkably resilient. This has occurred despite the market being inaccessible to the majority of investors before the advent of fractionalization.