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Masterworks helps people invest in the art market. Using a proprietary dataset to determine which artist markets are gaining momentum, Masterworks purchases art that it thinks is likely to appreciate in value and gives investors the opportunity to buy shares. After you invest, you can either receive proceeds once the piece sells or trade shares on the company’s secondary market.
- Makes it easier to invest in art
- Can help diversify your portfolio
- Secondary market available
- Interview required to join
- Significant risks
Masterworks makes it easier to add fine art to your portfolio, but art can be a challenging investment. Joining as an investor is also more difficult than with some other investment companies.
What is Masterworks?
Masterworks is the first platform that allows you to buy and sell shares representing fine artwork. While owning fine art may be out of reach for many investors, owning a fraction of that art is much more attainable. Past offerings include pieces from artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kaws, Banksy and George Condo.
Masterworks has compiled a database for paintings’ purchase histories, and it uses this data to determine which artists to invest in. Masterworks has professional storage for the art it purchases, and it performs annual appraisals. Overall, the company has purchased more than $200 million in artwork at the time of publishing.
How does Masterworks work?
Masterworks requires you to go through an interview before you can invest. If you are accepted, you can invest in shares of the artwork that Masterworks offers.
To determine what artwork it should buy, Masterworks uses its price history database to determine what art and artists currently have momentum. From there, its acquisition team purchases the art, and Masterworks then files an offering circular with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). At this point, investors can purchase shares of the offering.
Masterworks then holds the artwork for anywhere from three to 10 years. If you’re invested in a piece, you can either:
- Wait until Masterworks sells the art and receive your share of the proceeds, if applicable.
- Choose to sell your shares in the company’s secondary market 90 days after the primary offering closes.
Masterworks charges a 1.5% annual management fee that is paid in the form of equity, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket. This fee covers the cost of:
- Professional storage
- Administrative costs
- Regulatory filings
- Annual appraisals
There is also a 20% fee on future profits. This helps ensure that the company is aligned with your interests to sell art for the highest possible return, though it does cut into your ROI.
Masterworks doesn’t charge transaction fees when you buy or sell shares.
- Is Masterworks a good investment?
- Masterworks is a newer company, having been founded in 2017. This means that there’s not a lot of data to know how well its investments perform. Investing in fine art can have significant risks, and even works by some of the largest names in art history may not appreciate consistently. Fine art can be a good way to diversify your portfolio, though, if that is your goal.
- How do I invest with Masterworks?
- To invest with Masterworks, you need to request an invitation on its website. First, provide your contact info, then build your investor profile. Next, you need to complete a membership interview before being accepted.
- What paintings does Masterwork purchase?
- Masterworks purchases paintings based on a proprietary dataset that it believes shows which works have momentum. Past offerings include works from artists like Banksy, Mark Rothko and Keith Haring.
- Where is Masterworks located?
- Masterworks has its headquarters in New York City.
Is Masterworks legit?
Masterworks is a legitimate investment opportunity for people looking to diversify their portfolios. While investing in fine art has significant challenges and risks, Masterworks has made the opportunity available to a wider array of investors. If you’re willing to take a chance on the art market, Masterworks can be a good way to do it.
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