Contributor, Benzinga
September 12, 2023
Overall Rating:
securely through Masterworks's website

Have you ever dreamed of owning a Basquiat painting or one of Warhol’s pop art masterpieces? You can with Masterworks — even if you don’t have $1 million in the bank. 

Masterworks is an art investing platform that allows you to invest in million-dollar works of fine art. All art pieces are held in a climate-controlled, secure environment while Masterworks searches for an independent collector or buyer to sell at a profit. When a piece is sold, you’ll receive a share of the profits proportional to your initial investment.

Investors will enjoy Masterworks’ easy-to-follow system and choice of famous art investments.

Best For
  • You want to diversify your portfolio with alternative, specifically art, investments
  • Track record: 9 - 39% net annualized returns
  • You’re interested in investing in art
  • A dedicated art membership rep that will help you invest and answer questions
  • Clean, attractive, easy to use platform design
  • Supports Mobile App
  • Requires a phone call before you can invest
  • Hedge fund like fees can be confusing for new investors
  • Offerings sell out quickly due to demand

Masterworks Ratings at a Glance

Why Choose Masterworks?

Why invest with Masterworks? Some of the best reasons to open a Masterwork account include:

  • Easy data location: Masterworks’ platform is well-designed and SEC and bank documents are easily available.
  • Unique investing method: Masterworks offers a unique investing platform and method. It registers major works of art as entities with the SEC.
  • Unique asset class: Masterworks offers one of the most affordable ways to invest in multimillion-dollar art.

Masterworks Quick Summary 

Tradable assetsShares of famous works of art
PlatformEasy to understand — with art research tools
Investor requirementsNon-accredited investors allowed
Historical returns9-39%
Mobile appAvailable for iOS, Android

Masterworks Offerings

Masterworks offers investors the opportunity to invest in works of art by some of the world’s most well-known artists. But how does Masterworks decide what’s worth investing in and what will increase in value in the fine art market?

The Masterworks investment process is as follows:

  • Masterworks identifies a work of art its team is interested in purchasing. Masterworks focuses on purchasing artwork from “blue chip” artists — artists whose artwork has a history of improving value and maintains relatively high auction prices. Think Claude Monet, Andy Warhol and contemporary favorites like Yayoi Kusama. Masterworks then puts up its own capital to purchase the piece of artwork.
  • Masterworks files the artwork with the SEC. After Masterworks takes control of the work of art, it registers the artwork with the SEC. You can view the SEC filing and offering circular from the artwork’s profile page on Masterworks.
  • Masterworks offers shares to its users. After registering with the SEC, Masterworks offers members on the platform the chance to invest in shares of the artwork. 
  • Masterworks keeps your artwork safe and sound. Masterworks then holds the work of art in a temperature-controlled, museum-grade gallery. Masterworks waits for the artwork to appreciate in value and actively searches for an investor to sell the work of art at a profit. In exchange, you pay 1.5% of your total share balance in fees to cover storage and insurance. 
  • You receive a payout. After 3 to 7 years, Masterworks may sell the painting to an investor or at auction. You’ll receive your portion of the profits, which is proportional to the number of shares you’ve invested in.

Masterworks also provides liquidity via a secondary market where you can potentially sell your shares to other investors through the Masterworks bulletin board feature. However, Masterworks cannot guarantee that there will always be a buyer for your shares.


Masterworks Returns

There's no guarantee that an investment in artwork will produce a positive return on investment, however, since its inception in 2017, Masterworks has a track record of a 14.3% internal rate of return (IRR), net of fees, as of March 31st, 2022.

The platform has exited seven investments that have produced a net realized IRR of over 30%.


It's important to keep in mind that each investor's returns also depends on whether they hold the investment until the painting is sold or they decide to liquidate some, or all, of their shares early through the secondary market.

Masterworks Fees, Commissions and Account Minimums

When you invest with Masterworks, you invest in shares of a particular work of art. 

The minimum amount that you’ll need to invest varies depending on the work of art you’re investing in and no individual investor may own more than 10% of any individual work of art.

After Masterworks has purchased the painting, it holds it in a stored location for safety and insurance reasons, which keeps your investment protected. From there, Masterworks actively attempts to sell the painting at a profit to art collectors and investors. At no point is there a guarantee that you’ll receive a return on your investment, but Masterworks does actively vet investments and only offers works from established artists. But so far, Masterworks has delivered strong results to their investors. Seven of their eight exits have returned to investors over 17.5% returns each time.

Before you invest, it’s important to understand Masterworks’ fees. Currently, Masterworks charges two separate fees to investors: 

  • Annual management fee: You’ll pay a 1.5% annual management fee for each year you invest with Masterworks. This fee goes toward expenses like art insurance, storage and transportation.
  • Profit-taking: When Masterworks sells the work of art, the platform takes a flat 20% commission if the painting has increased in value.
  • Different standards apply to institutional and business investors.

Masterworks Usability

Before you can invest in your desired artwork, you’ll need to complete a quick phone interview. When we tried to sign up, we were told that we were #310 on Masterworks’ waitlist. Investors eager to get in on the art market fast may want to sign up now to hold their place. 

Once you make your way into the platform, you’ll enjoy a simple and streamlined design. Some of the things we love about Masterworks include:

  • Upfront metrics: If you’re only interested in browsing by works that will definitely be funded, you’ll love Masterworks’ direct and upfront funding calculator. 
  • Simple bank linking process: After you create your Masterworks account, you’ll be directed to link your bank account directly from your Masterworks home page. Though you can’t link your account and begin purchasing until you complete your required interview, you won’t have any trouble finding necessary forms or access points when you’re ready to start investing. 
  • Easy-to-find SEC filings: The best place to learn more about Masterworks and its offering requirements is by checking out each piece of art’s SEC filing. You can view SEC filings for every piece of art currently available for investing directly on its page. 

Masterworks Education

Masterworks offers a few interesting ways to learn more about investing in the art market and the pieces of artwork currently available on the platform. Some of the educational features we love include:

  • Brief biographies of each artist: Masterworks makes it easy to learn more about the life and history of the artists whose paintings it offers. Each piece even includes an additional “Further Reading” section with materials to help you learn a little more about the context of the piece up for sale. 
  • Masterworks price database: You can take a look at all of the artists and their paintings in Masterworks’ unique price database and view the return of thousands of paintings and artworks.
  • Masterworks Insights: You may assume that Masterworks’ “Insights” is a blog just created for search engine optimization purposes rather than providing actual information, but this assumption is incorrect. Masterworks Insights is a hub of gripping, well-researched and informative articles. The tone of Insights’ offerings is easy enough for total beginners to understand and each article brings a new perspective. Some previous article topics include deeper dives into artists’ histories, the benefits of adding art to your investing portfolio, ideas for investing in art on a budget and much more.

The Insights section also includes a third-party research section that aggregates outside news articles from a variety of well-known sources focused on art. Here, you’ll find articles from Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Deloitte, to name a few. Article offerings are updated frequently, so don’t be afraid to check back every few days to see what’s new. 

  • Auction sales data and public research reports: Masterworks offers investors historical auction data for each of the artists it features. It also offers reports on the current state of the global art market, published regularly by sources like Citi GPS and Deloitte. These reports are different than daily news offerings because they cover larger art trends in more depth as the market moves and changes. 

Masterworks Customer Support

Masterworks currently offers 2 ways to get in contact with its customer service team.

  • By phone: You can get in contact with Masterworks by calling 203-518-5172. Masterworks customer service team is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.
  • By email: Get in contact with Masterworks by email — send the team a message at

Another unique bonus: You’ll get your own dedicated representative who can answer your questions at any time. Unlike most investment platforms, you get access to your own personal Masterworks membership representative whenever you want.

Masterworks Overall Rating

Very few Americans can afford to own a quintessential Jackson Pollock painting or one of Cecily Brown’s beautiful works of art. Masterworks allows investors to get in on the art world at a fraction of the cost. of purchasing one of these groundbreaking works of art at auction.

You’ll also need to be ready to complete a quick phone interview to verify that you are who you say you are, which may be a bit of a hassle for investors who are used to 100% online processes. 

Where it loses points in fees and account processes, Masterworks makes up in concept and style. Its platform is well-organized and easy to navigate, with important documents front and center. Linking your bank account is a snap, and you can begin browsing available investments before you finish confirming your account. Masterworks’ “Insights” page and price database is also surprisingly informative, with fun, easy-to-read articles on everything from the current state of the art market to art history and theory.

It’s important to remember that Masterworks isn’t a one-stop shop for retirement and long-term investing.  Even a Warhol or Van Gogh has the potential to lose value. If you do decide to open an account with Masterworks, use it to supplement another standard brokerage account.

Frequently Asked Questions


How does Masterworks choose which paintings to purchase?


Masterworks purchases blue chip art from the major auction houses and established galleries. Acquisitions are typically representative of an artist’s mature style. Masterworks aims to acquire these at an attractive cost relative to value based on estimated historical appreciation rates and an established track record of multiple multi-million dollar sales annually.


What happens when a painting gets sold?


Tax and expenses are paid, the issuer entity is liquidated and the remaining net proceeds are distributed to shareholders in accordance with the priorities set forth in Masterworks’ operating agreement.


How does Masterworks offer opportunities for investors?


Masterworks purchases art and sells ownership to investors.


Is Masterworks legal?


Masterworks investors are legally buying a stake in fine art and the company abides by financial regulations.


Is Masterworks legit?


Masterworks follows a set of strict regulations set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who has verified the Masterworks is a legitimate company.

All of Masterworks’ offerings are also qualified by the SEC prior to being added to the platform for investors.

You can verify the company’s status through the SEC’s EDGAR website.

User Reviews


How do you use this product to boost your finances?

Diversify portfolio


How do you use this product to boost your finances?

Unfortunately and with dismay, the platform is shady pseudo marketplace where you ‘trade’ but never get your profits out


How do you use this product to boost your finances?

Potential investment research.

Billy Orange

How do you use this product to boost your finances?

Investment tool

Kacy Rolle

How do you use this product to boost your finances?


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