Do try this at home: Picasso proves that art investments are open to all

Christie's upcoming Impressionist/Modern Evening sale marks an early highlight in the 2011 fine art calendar. 

The auction, to be held in London on February 9, will feature works by some of the most renowned artists of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century and is certain to draw attention from collectors and investors from across the world.

Leading the sale is 'Nature morte à "L'Espérance"' by Paul Gauguin.  Painted in 1901, this historic piece pictures sunflowers, most likely in dedication to Gauguin's friend Vincent Van Gogh. 

The painting juxtaposes a Tahitian style vase with the European flowers, subtly exploring the contrast between his adopted home - Gauguin was resident in Tahiti at the time - and his native land of France.  The piece is estimated to sell for a breathtaking $11-16m.

Also featured is a work by the legendary Claude Monet, the impressionist pioneer active from the mid-19th to the early 20th Century.  'La berge du Petit-Gennevilliers' was painted in 1875 at Argenteuil, depicting a view of the River Seine.


'La berge du Petit-Gennevilliers' by Monet is a leading light at the Christie's sale.

The piece is typical of Monet during this period - a landscape, featuring beautiful water effects, sailboats and a lively, painterly technique.  A prime example of mid-period Monet, it would make a remarkable addition to any collection.  Christie's have estimated that it will sell for a magnificent $5-8m.

Christie's sale also includes a simple yet striking work by Pablo Picasso - 'Tête de femme au chapeau'.  Painted in 1939, the piece displays an angular, abstract image of Dora Maar - one of Picasso's great muses - and the jagged geometry of the work is reminiscent of the artist's early cubist work.  The estimate reflects the importance this piece of art, listed at $3-5m.

Although this gives the impression that only multi-millionaires can invest in art, you would be wrong.  The above represent but one extreme of the world of collectible fine art.  In contrast, much more affordable Picassos are available for sale to entry-level investors.

At £9,500, this fine piece by one of the most famous artists of all time would make an excellent entry-level alternative investment for a collector interested in the art world.  As our article from October underlined, both Charles Saatchi and Dennis Hopper started collecting at relatively low prices, as a way of enjoying and profiting from art.

Art galleries are everywhere, and whether you are looking to invest a two-figure sum or thousands, art is an excellent alternative investment that anyone can become involved in.  Auctions like the Christie's Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale point the way for the market - but your art investment(s) needn't cost you millions.


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