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The Monetary Appreciation of Paintings : From Realism to Magritte


  • Renneboog, L.D.R.

    (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)

  • van Houte, T.


This study investigates how investments in painted arts compare to those in stocks in terms of risk return trade off using Sharpe and Treynor ratios and Markowitz efficient frontiers. A large database was analysed consisting of more than 10500 auction prices of Belgian painted art over the period 1970-1997. Hedonic art returns are influenced by auction location and auction house, current of art, painters’ reputation, medium, signature and painting size. Surrealism and luminism were the most popular currents of art (in monetary terms), while expressionism and symbolism gained (financial) esteem. This study concludes that art investments underperform equity market investments due to high riskiness, transaction costs, capital gains, resale rights, and insurance premia. In addition, the Markowitz efficient frontier shows limited diversification potential for art.

Suggested Citation

  • Renneboog, L.D.R. & van Houte, T., 1999. "The Monetary Appreciation of Paintings : From Realism to Magritte," Discussion Paper 1999-62, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:tiu:tiucen:52cc202f-e91a-4400-8d47-0c85f4ec2edd

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    Investing in art; Hedonic regression;

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


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