John Knapp-Fisher is a great artist who spent time painting in both Suffolk and then in rural Pembrokeshire . He is a favourite of ours here at Blondes Fine Art and I am often asked by clients and friends my views on buying his particular work as an investment.
This morning I have watched a watercolour sell for over £11,000 at Brightwells auction room and wonder how much further have his prices to go. With an auctioneers estimate of 500-1000 clearly the seller and the auction house will be very happy.
So why do people keep paying higher amounts and see his work as being inflation proof? Before I start to answer this question I should say that my immediate response to these quires is preempted by my view on art in general . That it is an emotional purchase and the fact that owing art that resonates with you personally, is far more important than its value or potential investment. But for one moment let us look at the work of John Knapp-Fisher.
Last month I was asked this very question by a client who was considering a purchase. He is from Wales and was looking at Knapp-Fisher's work as he has links to Pembroke. He has children and wanted to buy something that was relevant to them all but would increase in value. He asked me to set out my views which I did.
Knapp-Fisher has a strong following and there are a number of privte collctors of his work, particularly in Wales and the value of his work has continued to rise over the last 5 years or so. John sadly died in 2015 and since then the prices of his work at auction , particularly Rogers & Jones in Cardiff, have taken another leap upwards. In fact last year an oil sold for £20,000 including premiums so there are some very wealthy welsh collectors determined to get their hands on his work and happy to pay whatever is needed. So there is a market for his work and although John painted a large number of work there is a greater demand than there is supply. So simple economics come into force and the price has been driven upwards.
Clearly, there are other factors such as condition, the medium in which painted and subject that have an impact on price but in general terms the prices continue to increase. So will this continue ? Who knows , it was not long ago that you could buy an early Porsche for about £10,000 and they are now in the region of £500,000 so who knows where or when any market will stop!
So what is my advice? Very simply to buy what you like and what makes you feel good. Art is much more that the price tag. If you like it and can afford it buy it.
But actually I do rate the work of John Knapp-Fisher and do think it will continue to be collected by an ever increasing group of knowledgeable individuals and good work will continue to command higher prices. Look at todays auction price for that watercolour which when bought direct from John in his gallery at the turn of the century can not have been more than a few hundred pounds. Perhaps the next work of a similar quality will possibly exceed the price made today who knows I will have to dust of my crystal ball and see what the future holds!
The client who asked my views did buy a watercolour from us and must be very happy to see that the market is as bouyant as it is for the work of John Knapp-Fisher and that he paid only 10% of the price of the work sold today.
Perhaps the way forward is to buy from a gallery as they seem to offer better value than the auction rooms for the work of John Knapp -Fisher. Just a thought and of course I would say this.