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Art leasing an enticing option

A COLLECTION of Australian artworks from the 19th and 20th century on display at the Holmes a Court Gallery has been carefully selected to entice investors.

Lauraine Diggin’s Annual Collectors Exhibition includes works from internationally recognised artists including Albert Tucker, Charles Blackman and Fred Williams.

Ms Diggins has a gallery in Melbourne but she also works closely with art institutions and collectors around the country.

The burgeoning investor market for art has driven demand for quality Australian works and Ms Diggins said that, with some simple advice and guidance, inexperienced collectors could learn how to identify works that would hold their value.

For collectors interested in spreading the cost of a work there also was the opportunity to lease works.

According to Ms Diggins leasing art works hasn’t been as popular in WA as it has on the east coast of Australia.

“It’s exactly the same as leasing a car or computer equipment,” Ms Diggins said.

“If you rent through a group like Art Bank it’s great, especially for government organisations.

“I really support Art Bank and we sell work to them.

“But if you’re going to be paying out money for a work, leasing can be a better way to go.”

To lease an artwork individuals or businesses need to contact a broker to work up the lease agreement.

The process of choosing a work is simply a matter of taste and budget, although the more savvy collectors are looking for works that will increase in value over time.

“We have two brokers who we refer clients to and then some brokers want independent valuations,” Ms Diggins said.

“The people I work with don’t tend to do this because of the longevity of our relationship.

“Most of the brokers have representatives in the other States.”

For businesses interested in acquiring art works there also are advantages to a lease arrangement.

“It’s my understanding that you can claim the payments under the hire purchase agreements and you can then depreciate the asset if you choose,” Ms Diggins said.

“It’s a way of acquiring art and getting a tax advantage at the same time.”

Ms Diggins said she chose the works in the collection very carefully, while keeping the investor market in mind.

“The pieces are all very aesthetically pleasing but I also had a very strong intention to include works with investment strength,” she said.

“I personally do not support the view that you buy a painting purely for its decorative value.

“Paintings are as important a part of an investment portfolio as shares.

“What people need is a partnership with a dealer.”

While there is a number of dedicated collectors in Perth, Ms Diggins said there also was a growing number of young people interested in investing in art.

“These people are looking at the art from an investment point of view as long as it meets their aesthetic requirements,” she said.

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