Tips for Buying Inuit Art as an Investment


First, buy contemporary art. Some of the older carvings can be a good investment only if you are sure that they will increase over time. The thing is, they are already old and expensive, so they will not go up as much as contemporary art. On top of that, there are a lot of old Inuit threads that just don't cost anything; you really need to be an expert in older Inuit art to buy it or you are at a huge risk of overpayment. Contemporary art has a comparison, so you can check out similar wood carvings by the same Inuit artists in different galleries and make sure you pay fair value.

The best places to shop for Inuit art are online Inuit art galleries. You will see that prices in online galleries are lower than in brick and mortar galleries. Real shops have to pay rent, utilities, employee salaries and they have to pay a lot of price. The Inuit online art galleries buy sculptures directly from the artist and at no extra cost, they are just the middle man between you and the artist.

You may be curious to find out if there is a way to remove an average man and buy Inuit art directly from artists. Unfortunately, it is not so easy, practically impossible. You will have to visit the northern Canadian community yourself. You can't drive, there are no roads, the only way to get there is by plane. A plane ticket alone will cost you at least $ 2,000. Now, after you reach Cape Dorset, Sanikiluaq or any other Inuit community, you have to rent a room at a hotel that will cost you $ 200 a night. Then you have to rent a truck because there is no public transportation, you have to eat something and the food is expensive too. And even after all these costs, there is no guarantee that you will find the thread to buy. There are times when Inuit communities are completely dry, woodcarving wise because it's not the season or someone else just bought everything before you. The best time to go thread carving is in the fall because Inuit artists get their stone in late spring and summer and there are usually lots of carvings on sale through the fall season. The worst time to travel would be in early spring, you run the risk of not finding a carving for sale.

Another tip is to look for well-known artists. Buy Inuit art from internationally renowned carvers such as Noonan Parr, Jimmy Icaluk or Paul Cavik. Although their art is already quite expensive, you can be sure that they will appreciate even more over time, especially when they withdraw from the trade. There are many younger artists whose art is much cheaper than the art of carving masters, but this may be a better investment opportunity to buy from them. For example, if you acquire a dancing bear from Noo Aziak, who is a younger promising artist, you will only pay a fraction of the price compared to Nuna Parr. Only in about ten years, Noo Aziak will be as well known, if not more, as Nunar Parr, and you will be able to get a good return on your investment.

Lastly, make sure you like what you buy. After all, Inuit carvings, like any art, are about perception. If people do not like the particular Inuit sculpture, as much as the Inuit artist knows, it will be difficult for you to sell his carving for a big profit.