Will Blue-Chip Artists Always be Blue-Chip?

Once an artist is appointed “Blue-Chip”, it can be rather hard to nudge them off the list. However, with the changing tastes of collectors, among other factors, an artist’s ongoing status can never be guaranteed.

Pablo Picasso at his studio in front of “La Cuisine”, 1948.

3 Reasons an Artist May Stop Being Blue-Chip

#1. Abhorrent past or present actions are revealed. 

A surprisingly small number of artists have been scrubbed from investor portfolios for past abhorrent actions. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if more and more artists are actively avoided by collectors in the future.

Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010

With younger, and seemingly more ethical investors diving into the art market, a few artists may become sidelined and eventually fall of the coveted Blue-Chip list. Pablo Picasso and Carl Andre are two artists that spring to mind in this regard. In such a scenario, while it is likely Picasso will always be ‘collectable’, the rate at which his prices rise may fall, stagnate, or reverse.

#2. Scarcity of Artwork for Sale

To be considered Blue-Chip, an artist has to be bought and sold frequently by major institutions or auction houses. Frequency and volume are essential components for Blue-Chip artists. Thus, if the trading volume of a Blue-Chip artist dries up as collectors or museums horde their work, their Blue-Chip status can be compromised.

This is one reason why old masters, such as Leonardo da Vinci, are not considered a Blue-Chip artist; there is simply not enough of their work exchanging hands.

. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Bidding representatives react after Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for $400 million at Christie’s, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in New York

#3. Change in Collector Tastes

Participation in the stock market has exploded in the past 5-years, primarily driven by young, and now more niche investment opportunities are being explored by these young investors, including cryptocurrency, options trading, and art investing.

With a flood of new young investors entering the art market, the demand for certain artists with youthful affiliations are likely to rise (think Kaws and Banksy), while others, with seemingly dry looking artwork, may fall (think Donald Judd, and again, Carl Andre).

You May Also Like:

Check out Masterworks, Public, and Yieldstreet and explore Art Funds that let you purchase shares in million-dollar paintings from blue chip artists like Banksy, Kaws, and Yayoi Kusama.

Read more: Review: Masterworks vs. Yieldstreet
Read more: Review: Masterworks vs Public

We welcome you to Contact Us with any questions you have about investing in art. Let us know your budget, the kinds of art that interest you, and we can work out a plan to get you started with art collecting the right way.