The Salon Talk – Investing in Art

Art was the topic at The Salon at The Relais Henley Hotel soiree event on Wednesday evening this week with Sarah Percy-Davis and Alex Hammersley from Hollandridge Group giving a talk about how to collect and invest in art and how it has changed over the years and the new trends that are emerging with digital art.

Hollandridge is an independent art consultancy who curated the Henley Festival art this year. They source art and put together collections for residential, corporate and hospitality projects. Sarah said we work on a range of projects large scale ventures to small residential projects, or even single item searches including Great Scotland Yard putting together a collection based around the history of the building.”

Sarah and Alex explained what you should think about when investing in art – the profile of the artist, the rarity, how prolific is the artist, is the style/fashion on trend, is it a original and probably the most important, is a good painting and do you love it and feel passionate about it.  When buying older art, you should consider whether it has much restoration and does it have authentication.

Buying from reputable art galleries or consultants, reading carefully and understanding the catalogue if buying at an auction, look at past  sale prices and if buying contemporary new pieces research the artist well are Sarah and Alex’s  ‘Golden Rules’.

Not everything at auctions go for what they are expected to or more.  We often hear of the Chinese vases going for millions more than expected.  Sarah however, told a story of when she was a young 21 working for Sothebys going out to assess a collection which had belonged to Giovanni Versace in Milan which included Picassos, De Chiricos and more decorative French 19th century art from the Napoleonic era.  The Picasso portrait of Dora Maar was later valued to sell at £35m but at auction only made £5.28 million and decorate art went for well over their estimates.

NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens) that carry a unique digital identity are emerging.  Many will have read about the Damien Hurst’s experimental project into NFTs with the “The Currency” which he launched in July 2021.  He offered 10,000 unique spot paintings. Those who acquired one for $2,000, had the option to keep the digital token or exchange it for the physical artwork.  The exchange period closed on July 27, with 5,149 “currency holders” choosing to trade their NFTs in for the physical paintings. At the gallery, the paintings that had been collected are replaced in the display with translucent, black-and-white slides of the original spot painting. As for the remaining works on paper, representing the 4,851 works owned by people who chose to keep the NFT, they will be literally burned by the artist himself during the week of Frieze London.

After the talk, audience members asked what is on trend, which artist’s work would Sarah and Alex invest in right now and what do they think of Banksy?  The reply was “He’s a great artist and a brilliant marketer.”

The next The Salon event is on Wednesday 19th October for a breakfast meeting when Oliver Cook, Olympic and world champion rower will be the speaker. Oliver will reflect on his journey from not always being selected, to navigating Covid and the postponement of the Games to racing at the Olympics and ultimately a race that didn’t go to plan.

If you would like to attend, please email