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What designs should we look out for?
Art/design/fashion crossover works are currently growing in value, for example, fashion illustrations for Vogue or major fashion labels such as Dior. Good bronze sculptures always attract interest, and expressive paintings work well for the current trend for eclecticism. The Impressionist and Modern arena has performed very solidly and prices have increased above the rate of inflation, even despite the recession.
How do we avoid getting ripped off?
Stand in front of the piece and see if it resonates with you and has a depth of interest and attraction. If a work is not authentic or good quality, you will pick up on it. Most often it is a feeling, but the painting could also appear unbalanced or awkward. For a sculpture, it may seem unstable.
How much should we pay?
Emerging artists from a reputable dealer can be purchased at £600 and upwards. You can buy a well-known and publicly exhibited artist's work from £3000 upwards and you should expect to pay north of £15,000 for a blue-chip artist's work. Investment return is based on the work, the achievements of the artist in terms of museum exhibitions and their own development. Don't simply buy art for its investment value, or it won't hold its visual or cerebral interest for you when it's in your home. For an idea of prices, visit a free auction price records website, such as Blouin Art Index (artsalesindex.artinfo.com).
Photograph: Robert Duckworth Greenham, Tango Final of British Championship, Blackpool - Courtesy Mark Mitchell.