DEAR HARRIETTE: I bought some art years ago that may have gone up in value. I was reading the other day about two of my artists who are about to have shows in my town, and it occurred to me that I might be able to sell this work at a profit. I mentioned it to my girlfriend, who thought I was being opportunistic. She actually told me that she thought I should figure out other ways to make money than to sell the art off my walls. I'm not sure if she's right on this one. Why can't I sell my art if I want to? What do you think, and how would I go about it if I wanted to sell it anyway? -- Art for Sale, Chicago
DEAR ART FOR SALE: First of all, it is not in poor taste to sell the art that you own. While art dealers will not recommend that you buy art for its resale value -- but instead that you acquire it because you love it -- some art does appreciate over time.
If you are fortunate enough to have art of value, you absolutely can test the market to see if you can sell it. Art consultant Cheryl R. Riley suggests that you do your research to see what the value of the artist's work is today. You can look the artist up in galleries, museums and other exhibitions. You can contact the dealer or person from whom you bought the art to see if they may want to buy it back. You can hire an art consultant to find a buyer for you. All of these options are perfectly reasonable.
You also don't have to tell your friend anything about it. This is your choice -- and your business.