The Relationship of Art and Economics

Stock market graph
"Collections are more likely to increase in value if they are seen by the general public, because art accrues value through exposure."
source: Dr Sarah Thornton, "Seven Days in the Art World


At a time when financial markets are in turmoil, many investors have turned to tangible assets such as art to diversify their portfolios.

The ‘Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market 2018 Report’ cites a 12% increase in global sales of art to 63 billion USD in 2017.

Many of these objects are highly light-sensitive but there is no product on the market at this time which proactively reduces the risk of light damage.

Conservation can be achieved by simply storing the object in a climate-controlled environment but the object can then suffer from a lack of exposure to the general public, which can hurt its economic value.

Art Equilibrium - top
Art Equilibrium - maximised


As the figure shows, if the object is exposed to the general public, it can initially increase in value. However as light damage increases, its value is eventually impacted, reducing its value, both culturally and economically.

This presents the art collector with a dilemma: To exhibit or not to exhibit?

ArtRatio solutions aim to maximise the value of the item by allowing exhibition of the work of art to the general public within international light exposure limits, as stated in CIE Technical Report 157.

  • For example, for highly sensitive materials, such as silk, paper, photographs and fugitive pigments such as vermilion, our conservation solutions would limit the light exposure to 15,000 lux-hours per year, as required by the CIE.

  • For moderately sensitive items, such as dyed leather, watercolours and natural history objects, our products would limit the light exposure to 150,000 lux-hours per year.

ArtRatio solutions thus maximise the potential to exhibit, but within international light exposure limits. The net effect on an art collection is to allow works of art to maximise their true market value by carefully controlled exposure to light.