Masterworks Review: What’s the Catch?

Masterworks Review

Already have a diversified portfolio full of real estate and stock investments (but want to diversify your portfolio even further)? If so, alternative investments like pieces of art could present a lucrative opportunity!

Masterworks is a unique platform—complete with its own secondary market—that allows accredited and non-accredited investors alike to start investing in the art market right away.

Offering sizable annual returns, relatively low minimum investment requirements, and a straightforward fee structure, you only need to make it through a quick phone interview before you can start investing with Masterworks.

Could this be the right platform for you? By the end of this article, you’ll have an answer!

Masterworks is best for…

Individual investors who want to take advantage of a unique investment opportunity. Traditionally, investing in art requires an investor to purchase an art piece, which can cost hundreds of thousands—if not tens of millions—of dollars.

Obviously, this is not a realistic goal for the average investor. Fortunately, Masterworks is designed to make it easy for the everyday investor to invest in fine art.

These same high-dollar requirements used to be true for real estate investments, but nowadays, investors can make fractional investments. Masterworks takes the same approach, allowing an investor to purchase fractional shares of artwork and add them to their investment portfolio.

If you’ve ever wanted to invest in fine art but thought you’d never be able to afford it, then Masterworks might be the perfect platform for you!

Pros & Cons

Like any other platform, Masterworks has its fair share of pros and cons. We’ve listed a few of the ones that stood out to us below. If you want a more in-depth look at the pros and cons, you can find one by clicking here.


  • Open to non-accredited investors. Many platforms limit their premium investment opportunities to accredited investors only, but that’s not the case with this platform.
  • Offers a secondary market. While being able to sell on the secondary market is commonplace in the stock market, many alternative investments are illiquid investments. Fortunately, Masterworks allows you to sell shares of your art investments directly to other investors, using the secondary market on their website
  • Multiple investment offerings. At any given time, Masterworks will have shares of various pieces available. You can choose which art piece you’d like to invest in.


  • Unclear minimum investment amounts. Many reviews state $10,000 is the minimum. The website itself claims that $15,000 is the minimum investment, but multiple users have reported that the actual minimum investment requirement is only $1,000.
  • Doesn’t offer passive income. You’ll technically profit as contemporary art prices increase, but you won’t be able to realize these gains until you personally sell your shares (or Masterworks sells the piece in question).
  • Requires a phone interview. The purpose of the interview is to offer investment advice and a personalized experience for all Masterworks Investors, so it’s critical to the entire process (at least in the company’s eyes). However, this requirement may be off-putting to potential investors who want the streamlined, fully-digital investment process offered by many other investment platforms.

Minimum investment

The official Masterworks website states that the required initial investment is $15,000. It also says that shares of artwork can be added to your investment portfolio for $20/share. The per-share price checks out, but the investment minimums don’t.

In the past, it appears that “official investment minimums” were slightly lower, at $10,000. However, users from both pre-$15k and post-$10k claim that they were able to make investments as small as $1,000.

It appears that your actual minimum investor requirement is decided during the phone interview when you’ll need to answer questions about your assets, savings, and income. The information you provide seems to have a direct correlation with the “minimum investment requirement” you’re presented with.


Fees on Masterworks are extremely straightforward. You’ll pay an annual management fee (equal to 1.5% of your account’s value) every year. When Masterworks sells a piece of art, you’ll receive 80% of the profits; Masterworks keeps the other 20% to cover costs such as storage, insurance, and regulatory fees.

Investment Opportunities

Open to both accredited and non-accredited investors, there’s no doubt that Masterworks offers a unique alternative to traditional assets. Blue-chip art from famous artists is an asset class that’s traditionally been impossible for average investors to access.

The main benefit of investment platforms like Masterworks is that the investors don’t have to fund the entire investment. Instead, Masterworks investors only purchase shares, which helps diversify their portfolio.

The average returns on this alternative asset class vary widely, so you’ll want to consider blue-chip artworks on an individual basis. However, Masterworks is transparent about the performance of these alternative assets, providing key information for individual pieces of artwork, such as:

  • Purchase price
  • Sale Price
  • Gross Appreciation


Despite the lucrative potential returns you could get from these pieces of artwork, the process itself isn’t without limitations or risk.

Most importantly, you’ll need to be in it for the long haul. Masterworks won’t sell its blue-chip art until the art prices increase significantly. This means your investments could sit for 3-10 years.

You also won’t have a consistent income stream. Remember, the pieces of artwork won’t provide any returns until the auction sales are complete. You’ll be entirely reliant on long-term performance and capital appreciation.

Currently, Masterworks only allows members to invest via fractional shares in fine art. It doesn’t offer any other options such as retirement funding, loans, or banking services.

Masterworks Review Summary

Overall, Masterworks is one of the most unique investment platforms that allows art investors from nearly any financial situation to start investing in pieces of art. The fractional ownership setup — along with the low initial investment requirements — makes investing in famous paintings accessible to nearly anyone!

We especially liked that Masterworks has its own secondary market on the website, which helps reduce investors' liquidity worries. Overall, we think Masterworks is worth checking out if you’re interested in blue-chip artworks and long-term investing. Click here to get started!

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