Painting. Sculpture. Photography. An art collection, in addition to enriching your spirit and your surroundings, is an asset that should be properly protected and insured.

Art collecting as a hobby dates back to humanity’s oldest civilizations. Today, collecting art is still a delight and, at times, a type of investment.

“It’s a very interesting time. We’ve seen the best three years, [in the world of art acquisition] versus the worst three years [in the economy] in Puerto Rico,” notes Francisco Rovira, founder of the well-known gallery in Santurce, Roberto Paradise, and member of the New Art Dealers Alliance.

According to the young art adviser, this is due to the crossover of a group of Puerto Rican or Puerto Rico-based artists such as Enoc Pérez, Melvin Martínez, Carlos Rolón (Dzine), Gamaliel Rodríguez, and Zilia Sánchez, among others, whose pieces have considerably increased in price. If properly selected under the advice of an expert, a work of art can become an important asset in the estate of a family or an individual.

Speaking of assets, whether you acquire pieces because you favor a particular artist, movement, or style, protecting and insuring them is essential. Gallery owner Rovira and Eduardo Criado Gierbolini, president of Popular Risk Services, both agree.

“We’ve seen an increase in awareness about insuring works of art. Clients who begin this process [of collecting] suddenly realize they already have a large amount of money invested, and want to protect those assets,” says Criado, who has worked in the insurance industry for over twenty years.

Once you decide to insure your artwork, your pieces are appraised by an expert, a detailed inventory is prepared, and the insurance policy is estimated. Each piece is insured individually, not the whole collection. Therefore, Criado urges owners to choose wisely. Raúl de la Torre Cortada, vice president of Title Insurance and an avid collector of Puerto Rican art, mentions the importance of knowing how much risk you want to assume and how much you want to transfer into a policy. For example, de la Torre asserts that it is vital to focus on pieces with a high economic value.

Once you have an active policy, you must revise it annually with your insurance broker. This goes hand in hand with updating the appraisal of your pieces, which should be done every three to five years, by recommendation of the experts at Popular Risk Services.

Are you interested in starting or growing an art collection and increasing its value?

Francisco Rovira suggests you check the artist’s curriculum vitae: exhibitions, institutions that collect their pieces, and reviews they have received, among other considerations. Meanwhile, the curator of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Pablo Pérez D’Ors, says that, in today’s international market, prices allow buyers to acquire and build a solid private collection—something that used to be possible only for institutions like museums. “For those who like older art, it’s a great moment,” he states.

Finally, you should be aware that keeping your pieces in good condition requires maintenance that should only be done by a qualified conservator. Rovira affirms that there are very good conservators on the island, who have studied in Europe the latest processes and technologies.

It is time to insure and give special attention to those unique objects that, besides being part of your personal estate, are also proof of the cultural production of our country.

Insurance products are not deposits, are not insured by the FDIC or other federal governmental agencies, are not guaranteed by Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, its subsidiaries, and/or affiliates, and may lose value. Popular Risk Services is a subsidiary of Popular, Inc., and an affiliate of Banco Popular.