What to Get With the Money Your Great-Aunt Left

Chris Ofili, Untitled, 2001. Sold at Sotheby's for $27,000 in May 2007; a similar work sold at the Armory in March for $10,000.Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's

Strategy One
“Go for size. Buy a big ‘bang for your buck’ piece by a strong up-and-comer. Katherine Bernhardt makes large, colorful paintings inspired by fashion culture that look fantastic on walls.”

Strategy Two
“Photography remains affordable, and while both Ryan McGinley and Anne Collier are relatively well-known (he’s even had a solo show at the Whitney), one can still buy large-size photos by them for around $10,000.”

Strategy Three
“Buy an edition or small work by a blue-chip contemporary artist, like John Baldessari’s ‘Person With Guitar’ series.” Or something by Chris Ofili.

Their Recent Find:
At the Armory Show in March, Greene and Samuels, working on behalf of client Scott London, a co-founder of Baby Phat clothing, came across a watercolor by Turner Prize winner Ofili at the booth of his U.K. dealer, Victoria Miro gallery. Similar works by Ofili—small, colorful portraits of women—had sold at auction for between $20,000 and $30,000. But when Greene and Samuels saw this Ofili for $11,000, “we could tell that the gallery really priced the work for this specific market,” says Greene, a former New Museum curator. “We felt very strongly that the pricing was very reasonable.” Still, the pair brought the price down even further, negotiating with the gallery for a discount. A steal at $10,000? “I have little doubt that within ten or twenty years, he’ll still be considered a really important, if not one of the top five, British painters” of his generation, says Greene.

What to Get With the Money Your Great-Aunt Left