The Art of Investment

A Wall Street-trader-turned-collector explains how investing in art can be a smart deal.

What do finances and fine art have in common? More than you might think. Chappaqua resident Kenny Ackerman, a former Wall Street trader who retired at just 39 years old, decided to apply his financial savvy to a second career: art investing.

A self-taught dealer, Ackerman believes that more financiers and investors should get involved in art investing. “I view fine art as an excellent diversification tool and store of value. It can also be very useful as an estate tool and as a way to pass wealth to heirs,” he says.

He founded Ackerman’s Fine Art in 2010 and just recently expanded the Purchase-based gallery to include 3,500 sq ft of high-quality artwork. Ackerman’s gallery — which is not a retail operation but instead offers consultations by appointment — specializes in 19th- and 20th-century works, including modern, contemporary, and Impressionist art from such world-renowned names as Jean-Pierre Cassigneul, Marc Chagall, and Andy Warhol, with prices ranging from $25,000 to $3 million.

Ackerman’s international and domestic clients benefit from his extensive network in the financial and art worlds. In addition, he says, the gallery offers specialized one-on-one service and operates with full transparency. “We let the art do the talking and offer good old-fashioned service and expertise,” Ackerman explains.

His advice to those interested in building their own art collection is fairly straightforward: Study different styles of art to understand what you like. Then get advice from trustworthy experts and define your goals before purchasing pieces.

Ackerman urges clients to buy “investment-quality art” from artists who have a long history of sales at auction. He warns against purchasing “emerging art” (works by lesser-known living artists), explaining it is risky and usually illiquid.

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