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Masterworks
3.6
★★★★★
Finder score
Minimum deposit
$5,000
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Our verdict

Invest in shares of blue-chip artworks with Masterworks' user-friendly platform, but you'll need at least $5,000 to get started.

Consider Masterworks if you want a simple way to gain exposure to blue-chip artworks and the fine art market. Look elsewhere if you want to own whole physical art or have a low risk tolerance.

Best for: Anyone who wants to invest in million-dollar artwork without needing the significant upfront costs of buying the artwork outright.

Pros

  • Diversify your portfolio with shares of blue-chip artworks without physically holding or storing the art
  • 1.5% annual management fee is lower than much of the competition
  • Option to trade your shares prior to Masterworks selling the artwork, with no trading fees
  • Compatible with self-directed IRAs

Cons

  • Requires a $5,000 minimum investment
  • Masterworks takes a 20% cut if a painting sells
  • Expect a three- to 10-year waiting period before Masterworks attempts to sell the painting and you receive any proceeds
  • Interview required to begin initial investment

In this guide

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  • Your reviews
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How we rated Masterworks’ features

Fees

★★★★★

No trading fees and an annual management fee that’s below much of the competition, but Masterworks takes a 20% cut when the painting sells.
Available securities

★★★★★

Masterworks exclusively offers art investing.
Customer support

★★★★★

Reach support by phone or online form.
Mobile app

★★★★★

Both Apple and Google users give the app high marks.
Research and tools

★★★★★

Masterworks provides an investment thesis for each painting and price appreciation metrics of similar works.
Reliability

★★★★★

No major outages have been reported.

To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read our methodology at the bottom of the page.

Masterworks is best for investors with a high risk tolerance

Investors of all experience levels will find Masterworks to be a simple, convenient way gain exposure to art as an asset class. Masterworks does the research, authenticating, purchasing and storing of the artworks, which means that a novice can invest without having any connection to the art world. Meanwhile, both its online and mobile platforms are easy to navigate, which contributes to the uncomplicated art investing experience Masterworks has pioneered. But art investing carries a higher degree of risk than traditional assets such as stocks, bonds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) because it can be difficult to determine how much each artwork will appreciate.

What you can trade on Masterworks

  • Blue-chip artworks

Account types available with Masterworks

  • Individual brokerage
  • Entity

Where Masterworks shines

Masterworks was the first platform to offer securitized art investing — you can buy shares of art instead of having to buy the entire piece of art — and it remains the top player in the space, with over 780,000 members and over $1 billion in assets under management (AUM), as of August 2023. The company has purchased over 315 pieces of art since launching in 2017.

Meanwhile, its platforms are modern and easy to use, its approach of securitizing artworks means you can potentially trade your shares on a secondary market and its annual management fee comes in below many other art investing platforms. The company has also eliminated its $15,000 minimum investment requirement, according to a Masterworks representative, which means you can get started with any amount. Plus, you can invest through Masterworks with a self-directed IRA and gain exposure to art through your retirement portfolio.

Where Masterworks falls short

While Masterworks has made fine art investing more accessible to the masses, the company requires a $5,000 minimum investment and takes a 20% cut of the proceeds if and when it sells an artwork. That’s on top of the 1.5% annual management fee Masterworks charges. What’s more, we’d like to see these fees more prominently displayed on the company’s website instead of tucked away in each offering’s circular. And if you want to join Masterworks, the company requires a phone interview before you can make an initial investment.

Masterworks fees

Minimum investment$5,000
Annual management fee1.5%
Secondary market trading feeNone
Cut of sold paintings20%

Is Masterworks legit?

Yes, Masterworks is a legitimate company and art investing platform. Founded in 2017, Masterworks has grown to be the foremost platform for investing in securitized blue-chip artworks, with over 783,000 members and over $853 million in AUM as of August 2023.

As a registered investment advisor, Masterworks securitizes its art with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), a US government entity that protects the interests of investors. Masterworks is registered with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Masterworks’ platform is easy to use

The Masterworks platform, both web and mobile versions, feels and functions just as you’d expect from a modern investing platform. Both are intuitive and easy to navigate and neither platform overwhelms with features. Current offerings are available from the home screen of your account, a portfolio view lets you see the performance of your investments and Masterworks’ trading market lets you buy and sell paintings with other members with ease.

Masterworks screenshots

Masterworks’ app store reviews

Google Play app reviews4.6/5 stars based on over 700 reviews
Apple App Store app reviews4.8/5 stars based on over 1,925 reviews

Masterworks’ customer support

  • Phone
  • Online form

How to open an account with Masterworks

  1. Select the Sign up now button below, enter your email and select Skip Waitlist to start your application.
  2. Enter your name, phone number and password. Select Skip The Waitlist.

To invest through Masterworks, you’ll need to schedule a membership interview with a member of the Masterworks team and deposit funds to invest.

Eligibility and required information

  • At least 18 years old
  • Name, email address and phone number

How safe is Masterworks?

Masterworks’ platform is considered safe and secure. The Masterworks platform is password-protected and it uses “industry standard encryption technology” and automated tools to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized access to its systems.

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Frequently asked questions

Is it worth investing in Masterworks?

It may be worth investing in through Masterworks if you want to diversify your portfolio with investment-grade artwork and are okay with taking on more risk than traditional investments. According to Masterworks, contemporary art has appreciated at a compound annual growth rate of 12.6% between 1995 and 2022.

How long is the Masterworks waitlist?

Select the signup button below to skip the waitlist and join Masterworks today.

What is the return on Masterworks after fees?

According to Masterworks’ 2021 year-end review, its art investments averaged 15.8% annual appreciation in net asset value, after fees.

How we rate trading platforms

★★★★★ 5/5 — Excellent

★★★★★ 4/5 — Good

★★★★★ 3/5 — Average

★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar

★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor

We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.
For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.

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Matt Finder

Editor, Investments

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