Why do people buy art?

Change the way your space looks with art
Change the way your space looks with art

Here’s a question that might seem a bit odd…..why do people pay money to own art?

No doubt there are a lot of reasons – all sorts of people have all sorts of motivations for doing all sorts of things.
Maybe we can come up with some answers?

Here are some obvious ones:

  • I want to show my friends that I have good taste / am wealthy enough to buy art / am educated
  • I have walls that look empty and un-decorated
  • I like pictures of places I have been or things I have seen
  • I’m a collector and regard fine art as an investment

OK – these are pretty straightforward. But my preference for adding complexity means I can’t leave the question there!

In an earlier blog I discussed ‘costly signalling behaviour’ as a motivation and considered how art buying could be a form of that behaviour.
So how about:

  • I want to use my obvious ability to choose art and pay for it as evidence of my desirability as a mate and provider
  • Now my kids have grown up I want to have my house reflect my tastes, not other people’s’
  • I wanted to get someone I care about a gift that would really show them how I feel about them

I’m fairly sure Jenny and I (Vitreus Art) have sold work to people who were acting on all these motivations.
And we can add another couple, working in the field of stained glass –

  • I want to change the way my house looks using light
  • I want to create space between my and a neighbour’s house by obscuring a window or two

What other reasons can you think of to add?
Do leave a comment and let us know!


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