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June 2019
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2003-12-09 Work of well-known Sligo artist should continue to soar in price

A Michelangelo sketch entitled "Study for the creation of Adam" which was bought in 1926 for £600 is now estimated to be worth well over £15million.


On the other hand, an ancient bronze bust purchased by the Ulster museum for £5000 was later debunked as a 20th century fake. The latter, of course, would not be the norm, as art, as a rule, always appreciates in value. I have never had any interest in the stock market.


I wouldn't know my bulls from my bears, and so would be a little wary of dabbling in stocks and shares. Many Irish people were lured by the glitzy advertising of companies such as Telecom Eireann, and some even borrowed money in order to buy shares with this company.


These investments of course may yet come good, but I suppose I just don't have that sort of disposable income to play around with. Whenever I do have a little surplus cash - not very often may I add - my inclination would be to invest in art. I will admit to knowing little or nothing about art, but I know what I like, and for me that is usually the deciding factor when buying. If I can afford it, and I like it, I will buy it.


Besides, a pretty painting is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than a share certificate. For an art investor, the value of the work of art will rocket through the roof when the artist dies. One only has to look at the Andy Warhol images of Marilyn Monroe and Campbells Soup which are now valued in the region of £18 million each.


Not so long ago, Jack B Yeats' paintings would have been affordable for the serious art collector, but now his works have gone right off the scale. Around a year ago, I went along one Sunday afternoon to the Hibernian Gallery in Ely Place to view the works of talented Sligo artist Nick Miller, and if I could afford it, I would love to adorn my living room with one of his post-impressionist colourful Sligo scenes, as captured from the back of his truck.


One never knows when the next Picasso or Van Gogh is just around the corner. I have every confidence that the works of Nick Miller will continue to soar in price.

There are many ways of buying art. Gallery prices can sometimes be astronomical, so buying online (ebay, for example) may prove a better option, or bidding at an on board auction on a cruise liner, as indeed I have done. On such occasions I have managed to acquire works by such contemporary artists as Itzchak Tarkay, Linda le Kinff, David Schluss, amongst others. Several of these are lithographs or seriolithographs, but all have been signed by the artist and come with a certificate of authenticity. All have already significantly increased in value.


I have always been a fan of the notion that "architecture is frozen music", for example the intricacies and ornamentation of Baroque music being mirrored in the ornate architecture of the time, or the more simple structure and form of classical music and architecture. This applies to most eras of music and architecture, and in many instances to art.


Art is also frozen music to a certain extent. In Romantic art and music, the composer or painter paints the picture as he/she sees it, whereas in impressionism, the mood is suggested. This period, along with the Fauvists, is probably my favourite era in art history, and an ambition is to have a Monet or a Sisley hanging over my fireplace.


In Impressionistic art, visual perceptions of every day life are translated into shimmering colours and reflections, saturated with an ethereal light. Whatever your taste, whether it be the exuberant billowing clouds and cherubs of the Baroque, the "chiaroscuro" magic of Caravaggio and the Renaissance, the elegant suggestiveness of the Rococo, the infinite styles under the vast Romantic umbrella, the unreal, alien and often nightmare worlds of Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism and Abstract art, or the consumer-led Pop art culture, the world of "Art" is a treasure trove there for us all to discover and take or leave, and it can also prove to be a very wise investment.


Of course you don't even have to like it, but for me pleasure is a large part of the dividend.


More information on Nick Miller: