Art share


Dear Artist,

Twenty-four-year-old British artist Henry Yang is offering his paintings for sale in what he calls, “fractional ownership.” Through a digital marketplace dealing in blockchain cryptocurrency, Henry invites multiple shareholders, including himself, to get in on collecting. He recently sold his painting, Arabidopsis Thaliana (Thale Cress), for £3,000 and kept 10% of the ownership. He says it helps waylay the loss he feels when letting them go. Now, Henry can co-loan Arabidopsis Thaliana out for a charge and disperse the dividends to his co-shareholders.


“Arabidopsis thaliana
(Thale Cress)” 2018
oil on canvas, 200 x 150cm
by Henry Yang

While I ponder Henry’s enterprise, may I perhaps interest you in a Monet? Picked up at auction for 6.3 million USD, Coup de vent (1881) is being offered at 20 dollars a share by 38-year-old collector Scott Lynn through his new venture, Masterworks. We won’t be able to look at it, though — after we buy Coup, for a 2% administration fee, Scott will keep it in storage. Down the road, we’ll vote on when it’s time to sell, when Scott will take a 20% percent commission from any profit.


“Window” 2017
oil on panel,
200 x 100 cm
by Henry-Yang
private collection, UK

First, we’ll need to figure out how to turn our hard-earned art dollars into cryptocurrency on the blockchain. Once we have our Ethereum tokens, we’ll be able to sell or trade our shares of any painting we collectively buy. Maybe 1,300 of us could get together on Warhol’s 1 Colored Marilyn (reversal series) (1979). She’s selling for $200 a share for a 0.076% portion. “We focus on works that are in the several million dollar area, because that’s where we see the greatest area of potential appreciation with the lowest degree of risk,” says Scott. As a collector, investor and the founder of Masterworks, he says that, aside from tech start-ups, investing in paintings has offered him the highest returns.

henry-yang-uk_Prunus-serrulata-(Cherry Blossom)-100 x 100cm-oil on-panel_2017

“Prunus serrulata (Cherry Blossom)” 2017
oil on panel, 100 x 100cm
by Henry Yang



PS: “It makes me smile just to think about it. They’re talking about having an exhibition for all the communally owned artworks, and I will absolutely bring people there and be able to say ‘I own a piece of that painting.’ ” (Cheryl Ellzysmith, artist and Masterworks investor)

“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.” (Andy Warhol)

Esoterica: As the internet has expanded access to art, so has it exploded an interest in it. Worldwide museum attendance is skyrocketing, says Steven Murphy, art advisor and former CEO of Christie’s. “Smartphones, ipads, social media, online — is the most significant technological thing to affect and benefit the art world since the invention of the telephone,” says Steven. The internet is for artists, he says, what the transistor radio was for the Beatles. “The great art has been there all along, but now it’s got a global platform.” Fractional ownership investment companies like Masterworks believe they’re part of a great democratization by inviting everyone to collect. They also see art shares as a benefit to emerging artists by allowing them to hold onto a portion of early works while their prices rise in the marketplace. “Art collectors are pretty insignificant in the scheme of things,” said Charles Saatchi. “What matters and survives is the art.”

Henry-Yang_Atropa-belladonna-(Nightshade)-60 x 36.8cm-oil-on-panel-2017

The Letters: Vol. 1 and 2, narrated by Dave Genn, are now available for download on Amazon, here. Proceeds of sales contribute to the production of The Painter’s Keys.

“If a patron buys from an artist who needs money, the patron then makes himself equal to the artist; he is building art into the world; he creates.” (Ezra Pound)




  1. Obviously there’s always been a difference between owning art primarily for investment purposes- and owning art you love and want to live with. As a creator- a long time ago I took the long (past my lifetime) view of the art I’m making. But I’m making it now. I’m still here- though barely- and I will be creating up until I leave- and when I leave- the value of my work may start to go up. But there isn’t a person on this planet who can predict how long that will take.
    So while I get the buy-investment-art-now-so-later-you-can-make-a-killing-SELLING-it mindset- art I own- I own because I want it in my environment. It is personal. It is an investment. In my own soul. Not contemporary capitalism.
    As for my own art? Selling it means it’s found it’s first home. Nothing could make me happier than that. Selling it to a collective where nobody gets to see it? What a waste.

  2. How very sad. Just another Ponzi scheme, proving that silly people will buy anything, if somebody tells them it is valuable.

  3. Again I go hawking my wares at an ethereal purveyor of things which people don’t need, I am reminded by my guides of how important any opportunity is. “Don’t shy away from the changes, embrace them, and let them carry you to the future of what is always changing and becoming new.” The past is frozen and will eventually fade from our view, but art has the ability to carry far beyond lifetimes. That makes me glad and I am not sure why.

  4. Investments are one thing and calls of the heart are another…..there are all sorts of art buyers. The pieces I bought may or may not be good investments but they have helped increased the value of my joy. Interesting investment propositions though to hear about. Thanks Sara.

  5. EE Gad! I thought I was reading a script for an SNL skit! I suppose the next step will be to sell brokered high leverage junk bonds against a possible “short” if the market sector defers more than a 6% loss in response to the long term escrow depreciation grossing more than 12% of a further 4 percent of 10 cents on the dollar being m*meoon fwmh44 cvn/bluble for….#?

    Thanks for posting Sara. Thanks also to your other posters who realize the actual value of art. Best you all!

  6. I’ve yet to meet a true artist who paints/creates for investment. There’s an inner urge which must be met, and all else is flotsam… Art is an expression, meant to be seen, heard, experienced and most of all shared. If the internet does this, that’s terrific. If non-creators need to put numbers to experience, there’s no stopping them. The highest value of art, however, is in the experience, and if one locks it up, one has destroyed its best value.

  7. I recently sold a mixed-media “Homage to Hildegard von Bingen” for less than $200.00. The buyer said my little piece of art brought tears to her eyes. THAT is what I consider an investment—for both of us.

  8. Gambling is a very real part of human nature, we have never know what lies ahead. Greed is the driver, it may override sex. Not sure about that, but it is up there with what makes us human, in addition to actually caring for people besides ourselves, and basic survival. To me, creators take the next steps in relations with others which is to pick up the tools at our disposal and do something with them. Its a big world with lots to discover. Somebody has to do it.

  9. Elizabeth Senger on

    If you own percent of it shouldn’t you be able to have it in your home for a percent of the year or for a set term. I own 10 percent of a painting, so I can physically own it for 10 percent of the year. Why lock it away where no one can enjoy it! What real artist would want that?
    I love my work and hate to part with it. I want to give it a home where it will be loved as well.

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